"I feel we are lucky to have this local hospital -..."
About: University Hospital Of North Durham University Hospital Of North Durham Durham DH1 5TW
What I liked
My 9 year-old went through A&E to Treetops children's ward for surgery. The medical staff were all great - introduced themselves, asked if I had questions, explained everything and were all very personable. Nursing staff were generally excellent too, particularly anaesthetic nurses and some of the more attentive Treetops staff. All staff on the ward explained things and introduced themselves. Everyone from paramedics to ward staff treated my child very nicely and kindly. The environment was consistently very clean and tidy. I was very impressed by facilities for parents - food/drink kitchen, showers, pull-out beds and bedding and I felt very well cared-for along with my child. Free phone by the bed for me, and free TV was a godsend. The ward manager also did the rounds and checked people were happy. As a nurse myself I greatly value communication - probably above many other things - and being kept informed is always welcome.
What could be improved
We waited a frustratingly long time in A&E, for triage and then again for treatment. I had assumed children - particularly with an injury/post-accident might always be high priority but I fully accept A&E's need to triage as they do. It was just a disappointingly long process. Same for discharge - bit of a wait between being told we could go by medical staff and actual discharge; lots of sitting around and feeling I had to chase this. Ideally I would have been kept more informed - I don't think it takes much time to keep people briefed, but again I accept they are busy much of the time. I have to say that the parking charges at UHND are astronomical - £2.50 for the shortest pop-in; there should at least be a 'free' 15-minute grace period like some hospitals so that you can pop in and drop things off (maybe there is, but I didn't see any information about it).