"I have never seen such poor quality of nursing..."

About: Royal Free Hospital

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My father (81) was admitted last Sunday and I have visited him every day since. Virtually every time I visit I have been witness to a truly shocking level of care, directed at both my father and other patients in the ward. I will be making a formal complaint and detailing the growing list of indignities I have seen this past week from a number of different nurses but wanted to post something here now as I see that people are advised to set the ball in motion as soon as possible.

My only fear is that having already been vocal with a number of nurses to voice my concerns, my dad, who is still under their 'care' will be mistreated.

Last night he was given no pain medication after 8.30pm and when he called to ask for some he was told that his meds were under review. In the middle of the night? No explanation beyond this review was given. Why would his meds be under review at 3 am? Especially when he had spoken to a doctor during the day and was following a pattern prescribed by his own GP for arthritis, not the condition he has been admitted for?

This followed an altercation with a health care assistant that evening who had refused to help a patient who had soiled himself and was in a deal of distress because it was the end of his shift. This same assistant also refused to call another nurse. He did however have time to tell me, for about 10 minutes, that it was the end of his shift and the older gentleman soiling himself and having trouble breathing because he was upset was not an emergency. At this point, my husband was running around the ward trying to find someone who would be willing to help. The gentleman's alarm had been buzzing for about 15 minutes by this point but nobody had come to see him we were told because shifts were switching over.So, if someone was unfortunate to have, say, a heart attack at shift change, they would just be left? Really?

When we left at about 8.30pm the assistant was still there making notes in patients' charts, my dad's amongst them. He then got into our lift and told me that I had been rude to him!

My dad was given his pain meds at 8.30pm and these lasted until 3.00 am when he woke and called for some more. He takes these every 6 hours or so. At 3.30am a nurse told him his meds were under review and he couldn't have any. At 5.30am and in a good deal of pain at this point, he was given 2 paracetamol which did nothing. At 9am, another nurse told him that his meds were not under review and gave him his usual tablets. By 10am the pain relief was finally kicking in. What's gone on here? How was this allowed to happen?

Are medications often reviewed and withdrawn from patients in the middle of the night? Is this standard practice? I look forward to getting this looked into and receiving some answers.

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Response from Royal Free Hospital

I am extremely sorry to hear about this and would like to discuss this with you further, could you please email rfh.communications@nhs.net with your contact details so I can get in touch.


Deborah Sanders, director of nursing.

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