About: Medway Maritime Hospital

What I liked

The general reception area was clean and the receptionist welcoming. From the point of arrival to the beginning of the next stage (the ward reception and onwards) everything went smoothly.

At this stage I should mention that I write as the person who accompanied the patient.

Time 8:15 am

We had arrived three quarters of an hour in advance of the requested time and was transferred to the ward sister for interview almost on time. Good so far. After the interview, I was sent to the general reception area to wait and be available for the post operation discussion … as was recommended in the leaflet. The leaflet made the point … in case the patient was confused following sedation.

Time 9:30 am.

So far, generally pleased with the way things had gone. Then we come to 'What could be improved'.

What could be improved


Unbeknown to me, the operation was very much delayed and as a result I grew increasingly anxious as time went by without news. There appeared no direct connection between general reception and the ward, where my wife (the patient) was, so I was isolated from what was happening. In any event I had no reason not to be patient.

Time 11:45am. Some 2¼ hours after the ward sister's interview.

I was still sitting in the reception area and totally unaware the operation had not taken place and my wife was still in her ward reception area. She, it appears was no wiser than me but being infinitely more patient was simply reading a book. I, on the other hand, was imagining all sorts of complications. This was supposed to be a 40 minute procedure; what had they found?

At this point I need to reveal that I am 76, we have been married nearly 40 years and my wife is indeed my personal rock of support. Was she more gravely ill than we feared; there was a mention of 'sinister' potential for some aspects of her problem. I was increasingly worried.

Eventually I managed to waylay one of the ward nurses and learnt the truth. It was another 2 hours before I was able to join her.


This wasn't to be the end of it. The senior ward nurse eventually came out and tried to pacify me and in doing so made matters worse. The delay was because a previous operation had exceeded its scheduled time and her repeated line was … "What would I have had them do about this other patient?"

This was a grossly unfair question to ask. My problem was the lack of information and the worry this had caused me and was probably causing my wife. Of course I could feel concern for the other patient but that was not something that should have been added to my woes.

The situation was badly handled to the point it became almost conspiratorial. You will need to go to any other comments to understand this.

Anything else?

Staff must learn to accept a situation when they have got it wrong … and not hold it against the complainant later.

In the open ward, the senior nurse was conciliatory, albeit using the wrong approach, but back in the sanctuary of her ward, became, well, let me say, positively commanding. Moreover, she must have talked to the surgeon because during the post operation discussion he so pointedly ignored me that I was left to feel my presence and any questions from me would be unwelcome.

I'm sure he did his best in terms of the procedure and the problem of lack of information was not his fault at all, and yet; I was supposed to be there to support my wife; to ask questions on her behalf should the sedation process had limited her ability to do this but, maybe influenced by something said, he never actually looked at me twice during the whole ten minutes the interview lasted. This was a shame because it didn't fulfil the objective.

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Response from Medway Maritime Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to feedback.

I am very sorry to hear that you were left to worry and not kept informed whilst accompanying your wife to her hospital appointment.

It is really important to us that patients and visitors have a positive experience when being treated at, or visiting the hospital. We are doing lots of work around this and we realise that communication is an area where more improvement is needed. Your feedback will be used to help make these improvements.

Thank you once again for your comments.

Suzanne Brooker

Head of Patient Experience

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