"Surgical Misery at Oldham"

About: Oldham PCT Royal Oldham Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

Thanks to my GP, who provides an excellent and caring service, I was admitted as an emergency patient with a suspected inflamed appendix to an emergency assessment unit. The care was brilliant from the nursing staff on this ward. However, all seemed to go down hill as I was transferred to two other wards. I spent 48 hours being prodded and poked - being told I wasn't really ill by one Dr, and should go home, and then being told ‘no’ I was going to theatre. Nursing staff were very busy and unable to answer my concerns and neither the Drs or nurses seemed to know what each other were doing.

I was nil by mouth several times, but due to emergencies coming in my operation was postponed. However, this meant that I went without fluids and pain relief for lengthy periods.

Twice I told nursing staff I was nil by mouth and they told me I wasn't, luckily I felt too ill to eat- and then medical staff reprimanded me for having water on my table when I was Nil by mouth. I was unable to take my regular medication because of this, and the nurse on that particular ward didn't know whether it would harm me if I didn't take it!

I had a scan during a nil by mouth period and had been without pain relief for about 8 hours - it was the most painful experience and the man scanning didn't seem to realise this or care. I returned to the ward in agony, but the nursing staff didn't recognise this for over an hour and I was given some pain relief finally.

I was transferred to my third and final ward - which was even worse. And after spiking a temperature and getting even worse, I was advised I would be operated on. Also that I would get pain relief and IV fluids - I'd been without water for about 17 hours by then - it took a further 2 hours, because the nurses were so busy and no-one qualified was free to get an IV into my arm. Eventually I went to theatre late in the evening.

Twenty hours later, I was sent home without information on how to care for myself, the nurse said they needed the bed. My stomach was very swollen and I was concerned, but the nurse just laughed an asked me if it wasn't it normally like that?

My stomach continued to swell at home and was very, very painful - and 6 days later burst open at the wound site - I had to return to hospital as an emergency admission. Again I returned to the same Assessment ward , and again the staff were brilliant. I had to have my wound opened on the ward and manually drained by the consultant which was horrendous as it had been previously tried by his registrar. I was expecting to go to theatre, and whilst I appreciate it worked - I wasn't asked if this could happen he just did it. I was put on IV antibiotics - and thankfully they found a Dr who could put IVs in without hurting me!

Unfortunately, I was transferred halfway through my 4 day stay to another ward where again the care was poor - the ward was dirty and the staff did not communicate with the patients or each other effectively. My observations were done irregularly and I began to feel like I was taking up a bed again. In fact, it was said to me by a nurse that they needed my bed. I was discharged to the care of the district nurses who were brilliant. I couldn't have asked for better care, but the whole process took 8 weeks and left me feeling scared of going into hospital again as a patient.

My concerns are that there were:

- poor communication between medical staff and nurses.

- poor cleanliness: the wards apart from the emergency assessment unit were filthy - particularly the bathrooms and toilet areas.

- doctors not informing you of their names or listening to your concerns - several insisted on attempting to put large IV needles into my arm, despite my explaining I needed a smaller needle. As soon as one listened, it worked!

- being left for lengthy periods without fluids

- being left for lengthy periods without pain relief

- not feeling that I was able to give informed consent, because I wasn't being fully informed about what was happening to me.

- not being treated with respect.

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Response from

We are very concerned to hear about your experiences at the hospital. If you would like to come in to discuss this with our staff then please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison team on 0161 627 8678 or you can email them at enquiries@pat.nhs.uk

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