"Clinical care good, but poor organisation, lack of..."

About: Royal Sussex County Hospital

What I liked

Mealtimes. I quite like Vesta meals so when the mashed potatoes look like wallpaper paste, I have no complaints and it breaks the monotony.

A few of the nursing staff were compassionate and friendly, note the few. The cleaning and meal staff were real stars and went out of their way to be helpful and pleasnt. One nurse and a male night nurse were exceptional.

Oramorph and a sleeping pill at night, plus a sea view. The patient operated electric beds are a vast improvement and the preventative stuff like MRSA testing, regular BPs, blood glucose, anti-coagulants and support stockings are a real improvement in the last few years.

What could be improved

A lot. You get the impression that the objective is to get you out as fast as possible and that anything more than 24 hours is bed-blocking. There is a lack of compassion, clinical information. Some of the staff are prima donnas. I had a 5 day stay recently; I saw the consultant twice with no opportunity to discuss what damage had been done. Given no informtion before discharge despite prospect of 12-weeks healing. Some staff, physiotherapists, were pushy and attempted to keep others like the OT, out of the decision making loop. Comments like "buy your own crutches" and "you don't need a walking frame at home" weren’t welcome. I got the feeling that I was going to be taken to the front door to make my own way home (fractured pelvis, pain, and immobile). I was moved to 3 different wards 5 days and ended up in the side room of a female ward.The male WC was the size of a broom cupboard, the door opened inwards and there were no grab rails, all on a walking frame. When I got onto the WC seat, it gave way because 1 of the 2 fixings wasn't there. Apparently, this hade been reported several times, but not fixed. In contrast, the female WC was spacious and had all the right safety equipment.The hot water in the shower came out scalding. Nights were bad with patients shouting out and at 21:30, workmen started pulling up the floor in the corridor outside. Fortunately I had some earplugs with me. The old building and being wheeled around in the open air didn't help. Finally, to add insult, the staff in the discharge lounge told my friend that she could not accompany me back the 4-miles to home in the patient transport because it wasn't insured, so she had to get the bus back. The ambulance was virtually empty with just one other person. The ambulance drivers (contractors) said the insurance stuff was rubbish and space permitting, relatives could travel. This meant that I, in a wheelchair had to wait outside the house with the crew until my friend arrived with a key

Anything else?

The initial ambulance crew were brilliant and took all the time necessary to assess me and make me comfortable with gas and morphine before negotiating the flight of stairs where I had fallen. These people are the real stars. RSCH has got too big and disjointed, a bit like a get-well factory. The care is adequate, but the delivery is poor. Yes, you might be just one of the thousands of people who get treated, but staff need to remember that this is your accident or whatever and you are an individual. I don't like seeing little old ladies in tears - they might be a bit of a nuisance, but you don't ignore them. Fortunately, I have a "cottage" hospital near me and the atmosphere at Lewes Victoria and Queen Elizabeth at Haywards Heath is quite different. These modern centres of excellence have replaced the old friendly hospitals, but I guess you can't have both.

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Response from Royal Sussex County Hospital

Thank you taking the time to tell us about your experience in our hospital. It is clear that there were some aspects of your care that fell short of the standard we expect for which we are very sorry. Your comments have been shared with senior staff in the hospital. If you would like to discuss the issues you have raised in more detail please contact us at Patient.Experience@bsuh.nhs.uk

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