"Communication during a hospital stay"

About: Scottish Ambulance Service Southern General Hospital / Oral Surgery & Medicine

(as a relative),

My father has been undergoing treatment for oral cancer and has been in hospital for almost 2 weeks. The treatment he has received has been excellent. The information he received prior to treatment was also excellent. However the ward staff have not been able to provide very basic information requested by my mother nor have they been able to signpost her to an appropriate contact point.

They found her request for a meeting with medical staff to discuss his ongoing care unusual. She naturally wanted to know the possible types of follow-on treatment/after care which may be required, as well as an approximation of the length of time my father may be in hospital. From the nurses' reaction this does not seem to be a very common request. However she persevered and my father's doctor was more than happy to meet with her. Why then were the ward staff initially so reluctant?

Neither could they advise her how they should arrange transport to and from hospital following discharge to attend radiotherapy appointments and outpatient clinics, which was especially difficult given they live 30 miles from hospital and have no access to private transport. The hospital staff did not seem to know anything about Patient Transport Service provided by the Scottish Ambulance Service and it was only after I investigated that we obtained the information. Surely hospital staff should be aware of such basic information which will help patients in these situations.

Patients needs do not cease once they exit the ward door. My mother was left feeling distressed and as if she was a nuisance at what was already a very distressing time for her. Thankfully she has family who are able to help, but for those people on their own I feel that they may be badly let down by this type of failure.

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Response from Paul Cannon, Head of Administration, Acute Services Division, Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to provide your feedback.

I am sorry that this posting was not acknowledged at the time, we had a break in our use of Patient Opinion, but we have now resumed doing so, and I thought it was still important to acknowledge your posting.

You raised a number of issues that are of concern and I have passed your comments on to the manager responsible for these services to share your experience with local staff.


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