"Ten hours wasted waiting due to poor organisation..."

About: Royal Berkshire Hospital

What I liked

The Health Care Assistants offered me more respect and dignity and showed more understanding and compassion than the so called 'trained' nurses.

What could be improved

Their was a distinct lack of communication from all staff as I was given little or no information concerning waiting times (excessive), the success of my operation (I was told that it 'went well'), aftercare (I don't know if my dressings will need changing), physio (I was given a pair of crutches and a brief lesson on how to use them but that was it) or follow ups (I was told that an outpatients appointment would be sent to me).

Anything else?

I was told to come in at 7AM for my operation and not to eat or drink after midnight the previous day. I sat in the admissions room until 1PM (6 Hours!) and could not get a single bit of information as to how long I would have to wait or why things were taking so long. I went 13 hours without having anything to eat or drink and my mouth became so dry that they had to allow me a few sips of water as I could hardly speak. By the time they came to take me into my operation I felt much, much worse than I have done for a long time. I was told that I would be discharged by 10AM the following morning but had to wait for nearly 4 more hours until they finally let me go just before 2PM because nobody could be bothered to go and get my medication from the pharmacy. Eventually I had to threaten to discharge myself before one of the nurses begrudgingly went and got my medicines; had I not done so, I probably would have waited much longer. I left hospital feeling exhausted, uncomfortable as well as angry and frustrated with the poor organisation and lack of feeling that was shown towards me. The nurse who eventually condescended to get my medication was actually angry at me because I'd dared to make a fuss.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Royal Berkshire Hospital

The matron for the Admissions and the Elective Orthopaedic Unit at the Royal Berkshire Hospital is very sorry that you have had such a negative experience during your pre-operative wait and your stay with us. She would be really keen to understand the details of your experience so that she can speak to the appropriate staff involved and take appropriate actions to make improvements.

We understand how difficult it is for patients to endure long waits prior to their operations and do our very best to ensure this is kept to the minimum. However, it is essential that our doctors and anaesthetists review our patients prior to their surgery and currently this is completed prior to the theatre lists commencing, early in the morning. We are trialling staggered admissions for some specialities where patients that are later on the theatre list come in later in the morning. This has proved popular with our patients but has incurred delays in the theatre lists and a reduction the amount of patients we can operate on daily. We are aware of the anxiety that delays and long waits cause and are working towards finding solutions to make the pre-operative experience a better one for our patients.

Again, we are sorry that you were left for so long without any water. Our nurses do try to stay in contact with the anaesthetic teams to ensure patients are able to drink for as long as possible prior to their operations, as we know this has benefits in their recovery. The poor experiences that you had during your ward stay is also of great concern to the Trust and we can only apologise. The matron will take your comments back to the departments and share your experiences with the teams in order to make some positive changes but the matron would be happy to look into your individual case; if you are able to contact the hospital Patient Relations team on 0118 322 8338 or email talktous@royalberkshire.nhs.uk they will pass your details onto her to investigate fully.

In relation to your discharge, again we are sorry that things didn't go according to plan. We have a comfortable new Discharge Lounge in our hospital and the ward team should have planned to get you down to this department as soon as possible on the morning of your discharge. We are not sure why this didn't happen but the matron will take this back to the team and look into how we can improve things for our patients. The way you have been left feeling is not acceptable but please be assured that we will do our best to make the changes that are needed to enhance our patients experience and pathway through the department.

Thank you for taking the time to make us aware of your concerns.

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