"Slow, substandard care where being self sufficient..."

About: Colchester General Hospital

What I liked

The kindness and professionalism of the nurses and care assistants.

What could be improved

The consultants need to inform the ward staff of proposed proceedures more so that they do not need to be informed by the patient when they are Nil by Mouth, staying, going, etc.

The consultants need to consult together so that they do not propose a different agenda each time they visit the patient.

The ward needs more staff. Patients feel uncomfortable asking for assistance as the nurses and carers are obviously stretched far too far. this is why requests are continually forgotten, especially during the night.

The toilets are not cleaned as regularly as they should be. It seemed only morning and night. Obviously a patient with a gastro and urology problem spends a large amount of time frequenting them and toilet seats where clearly not cleaned for many hours at a time. Alternative toilets had to be sourced. I reported a blocked, used overflowing toilet twice and it still remained in the same condition with the door open for hours.

The vegetarian food available was a disgrace. soup or a cheese sandwich could be eaten every meal time but when a proper meal waas desired at lunch time, only one option was available. This was an omelette on 9 days out of 12. As menus are not available on Wivenhoe ward, guess work and prior knowledge has to be used. Even the yoghurts and cakes contained gelatin. Cheese Jacket was the option every tea time. Relatives of other patients bought me food from the restaurant as they couldn't believe what was offered to me continuously.

The medicines offered to me nearly all contained gelatin as they where capsules. The ward pharmacist managed to change one to a tablet form upon my request but none of the others which I feel is not good enough. My chemist always gives me my medication in tablet form and I am surprised that a hospital does not cater for vegetarians when it comes to medication.

Anything else?

I arrived in an ambulance to A & E on a Friday evening with pains in my liver area. I was kept in due to an extremely high liver function enzymes level which needed to be investigated along side the pain. I was seen by the Urology Department immediately re. a kidney stone but I was not spoken to by anyone from the Gastroenterology dept.until the following Wednesday and was told I needed a MRCP to see what the problem was. I did not receive this until the following Tuesday due to a shortage of staff in the MRI Dept. This was a total of 11 days after being admitted. This is a truly disgraceful amount of time to find out what is wrong and have your mind put at rest. 11 Days of unnecessary worry.

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Response from Colchester General Hospital

We are committed to improving the experience of our patients. Clearly you have not had a good patient experience for which I apologise.

Please contact me by email, so that we can attempt to put things right for the future.

Kathy French

Deputy Director of Nursing


We always suggest the following steps if someone has a concern to raise:

1. If something is not right, ask to see the person in charge. They should be able to sort out the problem straight away.

2. Or ask to speak to the Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) or the Duty Matron.

3. If you are still not satisfied, please write to the Chief Executive at the hospital.

PALS (office hours): Freephone 0800 783 7328 pals@colchesterhospital.nhs.uk

The Duty Matron can be contacted 24 hours a day, via switchboard: 01206 747474

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