"Good care at QMC, but bad staff shortages"

About: Queen's Medical Centre / Vascular surgery

(as the patient),

I had varicose vein surgery and an overnight stay on D8. The pre-operative care was excellent, 2 vascular surgeons and an anaesthetist clearly explained what was going to happen. The nurses were very caring. I was lucky being first on the list because I didn't have to wait around. However, I waited for 2 hours in the post-op area because they couldn't find me a bed! The nurse was very kind, but told me this is happening more and more and she was frantically busy.

I personally received excellent care on D8, but I didn't need to call the nurses very often. My only gripe was that although I arrived at 12.30 my bag was not sent down until 6pm. Also, the food was rather dire!

The nurses were obviously overworked, but they were all very caring. There were 5 elderly ladies in my bay whose needs were much greater than mine. They were all complaining how long it took for call buttons to be answered, especially at night, and the 2 night nurses were rather abrupt with everyone. Unfortunately 1 lady kept talking and calling out most of the night, so none of us got much sleep!

During the evening an 85-year old lady had an upset stomach and she decided to just sit on a chair outside the toilet rather than going back to bed. She was rather distressed about the situation, but no one questioned this or offered her much help. The toilet didn't get cleaned until next morning, although she asked for this to be done. However, the rest of the ward was kept very clean and all staff regularly washed their hands.

One lady got up in the night, walking with her zimmer frame. She felt ill, but her cries for help were unanswered and she fell flat on her back with the zimmer landing on top of her. I pushed the call button and several nurses then came to help, taking her back to bed.

I was glad to go home to get some sleep, thankful that I was only in for 1 night. I have been given differing information about my aftercare. The nurse practitioner in the vascular clinic at my pre-op check up, the nurse on D8 and my GP surgery district nurse have each told me different times regarding how long I have to wear surgical stockings. I'm now using my own judgement. I also do now know whether I have to go to a follow up appointment - I will contact the vascular clinic to find out.

Overall, the doctors and nurses are doing a great job, but many more nurses are needed. Perhaps less paperwork and more proper nursing!

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