"After surgery, my experience on the ward was..."

About: University Hospital Of North Tees

What I liked

The surgical team were very good.

What could be improved

The after care.

No one was informed that I was staying in hospital overnight. I got the impression that the ward expected me to contact people which is highly difficult when pumped full of painkillers. I had to ask a nurse to hand me my phone at around 9pm when my bag finally arrived on the ward with me.

The nurses on the ward seemed very easily distracted and I observed and experienced them start a task then go to do something else half way through and forget about the first task. For example, the lady opposite me was being helped out of bed to go to the toilet when the nurse went away leaving her in an uncomfortable position, unable to move. A while later she returned, chuckled and said, "oh i forgot about you!".

I was left in an upright position when the nurses switched the lights off and said 'call if you need anything'. I was groggy so it took a while to realise that the buzzer was a metre behind me and I couldn't reach the bed controls. When another lady buzzed the nurse it took about half an hour to get a response.

I couldn't get a straight answer out of anyone about my discharge. I was given the impression that it would be before lunch so I informed my partner of this (he was at work as a teacher so he arranged to have some free lessons in order to pick me up). Then the nurses seemed to be unhappy with me asking what time I would be leaving. Things went missing, nurses went missing and to cut a long story short, one nurse had the paperwork the other was looking for so I could have left hours earlier. At 2pm I was told I could leave. I followed the nurse and she said " can I help you?" When I asked where to go she pointed to the 'way out' sign. I picked up my bag( I was told not to lift anything after surgery), had to make my way down 5 floors by myself and get a taxi (I couldn't contact my partner as he was in a lesson and my parents do not have a car). All of this less than 24 hours after surgery.

Anything else?

I understand that nurses have a difficult job but I felt that the nurses on my ward really didn't care about the patients. There was an awful lot of procrastination and I felt that priorities were misplaced. I am a teacher and if I was to show the level of care and attention demonstrated by these nurses to the children I teach I would be in serious trouble.

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Response from University Hospital Of North Tees

We are sorry that you felt let down by your stay in hospital. Thank you for your comments and for taking the time the time to let us know about your experience. We will learn from what you have told us to help future patients. If you wish to have a discussion about aspects of your own care please contact our patient advice and liaison office who will be happy to help you. You can do this by emailing PALS.NT@nth.nhs.uk.

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