"Observations on 7 weeks in ward D"

About: Southampton General Hospital

Anything else?

I must say that the NHS doctors and nurses gave me excellent treatment under the most challenging circumstances. The hospital is grossly understaffed of qualified people - agency nurses do not show a satisfactory attitude to patients and to other staff and most were care merely assistants, being unqualified to prescribe medicines and take medical decisions.

Overworked NHS staff acknowledge they are not providing the level of service they would like. I observed both doctors and nurses working 12 hr+ shifts - unsatisfactory for quality care.(There were 316 nursing vacancies in September 2012).

We all know that levels of care will never be perfect - my observations are made in a very positive spirit and I am grateful to all those who looked after me when I was very ill.

Problem /Observation

Staff shortages, especially at qualified nursing level /Poor communication between Doctors and nurses over changes in medication. (Took 3 weeks to get a flu jab).

Poor attitude of agency staff, most of whom appeared unqualified and unable to give medication, especially pain medication when required at night resulting in inadequate pain control – no pain assessment charts maintained Also constantly changing individuals leads to confusion amongst patients.

NHS staff horribly overworked but much better patient relations.

All NHS nurses felt unable to give levels and standards of care they wanted to provide/.

Night staffing insufficient numbers to respond to patient needs.

Mornings very busy, medications often late

Equipment shortages Commodes, walking frames and rotundas, even blood pressure monitors in short supply, often borrowed from other wards

Delays in access to scanners and x ray. / On questioning again related to staff shortages – poor info flow. Times promised and then cancelled on several occasions

Outrageous charges for telephone and TV access and very high charges for incoming calls (a rip – off!!) /Just not acceptable (TV is free at RHS)

Very High Parking charges for visitors/ Less than half the cost at RHS

Delay on discharge due to medication not arriving from Pharmacy / Nursing staff well aware of the problem. I was not moved to discharge lounge but remained in ward. 7 hours from planned discharge to medication arriving.

Most side wards occupied by at least one dementia patient. / Unable to sleep and disrupting other patients by walking around at night.

Discharge paperwork not available in time/ Eventually delivered to rehab ward by taxi (ward fax not working) ! cost?

Incorrect meds on transfer – morphine not included despite a specific request and an assurance from the doctor/ Consistency again – promises should be kept – it shows a personal interest

SGH is horribly overworked and understaffed. Under the circumstances its a miracle they hold it all together. Cutting staff is not the way to maintain and improve levels of personal care

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Responses

Response from Southampton General Hospital

Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry to read that you felt there were deficits in the provision of staff and equipment. The Trust has recently invested in additional nursing posts and continues to actively recruit. If it would be beneficial for you to discuss in more detail the issues you have observed, please contact Patient Support Services (tel: 023 8079 6325) who will be able to arrange this for you.

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