"Excellent medical care - tatty ward"

About: The James Cook University Hospital

What could be improved

I spent the first two days of my stay in a bay on Ward 9 which was shared by three ladies (including myself) and a gentleman. This was completely unsatisfactory as all three ladies had to use bedside commodes and/or bed pans and as I am not in the habit of going to the toilet in front of any of the male members of my family I most certainly was not happy with having to use such facilities in front of a complete stranger.

On the last night of my stay there was a man in a side ward using language more suited to the gutter than a hospital ward. The nurses on duty did their utmost to calm him but they too were on the receiving end of his verbal abuse. This was very disturbing and made me feel extremely panicky.

Anything else?

The nursing care on the ward is,on the whole excellent, however some years ago it was possible to reserve an amentity room at the hospital. I would have felt much happier and relaxed if I had been able to take advantage of this facility.

The staff work extremely long hours and particularly at night have a high ratio of patients per staff member to look after. This said, the ward was very noisy and sleep was difficult. The night staff make no attempt to speak quietly outof respect for those patients sleeping but this is true of all the wards in the hospital.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from The James Cook University Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments on the NHS choices website. I’m very sorry you were dissatisfied with aspects of your stay on Ward 9.

I understand that that you were a patient on the respiratory support unit (RSU). The RSU is a bay within ward 9 where patients are admitted for administration of BiPAP (level 2 care) or a higher level of observations due to their overall clinical condition. Locating those patients who require level 2 care in one bay allows the nursing staff to observe them more closely and monitor any further deterioration. This is in line with National Critical Care guidelines which also state that in these circumstances patients may be nursed in mixed sex accommodation due to their clinical need.

The reason for a male patient occupying the same bay as yourself should have been fully explained to both you and your family. Staff should have made it clear to you at the time that the Trust considers mixing to be an exception and never the norm in a ward environment, except where, through the clinical need of the patients this is unavoidable. The Clinical Matron for ward 9 offers her apologies if this was not explained to you. Please make contact with our PALS team on 01642 854807 should you wish to discuss this further with the Clinical Matron.

Thank you.