"An unfortunate experience..."

About: St Peter's Hospital (Chertsey)

Anything else?

Accompanying a friend to hospital after he was sent by albulance from his GP, because of heart problems, was a pretty nerve wracking experience. Never really having much experience of hospitals or how they work, I was surprised when we were just left in the medical assessment unit for over 3 hours with no information. Whilst there was a laminated booklet explaining the MAU, this didn't say anything about visitors. Several times we were promised that a doctor would be coming "with a plan" but this did not happen and we were left extremely uncomfortable, thirsty and not even knowing even where the toilets were (the nursing staff had disappeared after an hour or so, never to return). My friend was wheeled into a side ward and I was asked if I was staying the night. I responded that I didn't know and was taken through into the ward. After another 2 hours or so a doctor came and things seemed to start progressing but by this it was almost midnight. The same nurse, who had been absent in the intervening time, came back and asked again if I was staying the night. When I replied "yes" I was asked quite rudely "why?" and told that they didn't let visitors to stay the night. She then said that they only let people stay for special cases, negating her earlier comment. When I pointed this out the nurse said she had told me earlier that I couldn't stay the night. This was not true! When I said it would now be expensive and difficult to get back to where I live (In Hertfordshire) and would she be paying my cab fair she shrugged and walked off. Whilst on the wing I was surprised by the lack of communication and empathy skills on display. Nurses ignored patients waiting for medication, were offhand and extremely disrespectful towards patients (I witnessed a nurse saying rudely to a patient "what are you saying to me?") and heard nurses laughing about a patient who had wet the bed. Luckily I do not live in the Chertsey area and will never, hopefully, have to set foot in this hospital again. Needless to say, I will submitting an official complaint.

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Responses

Response from St Peter's Hospital

As the sister on the Medical Assessment Unit I am very concerned and disappointed to hear of your recent experience and would firstly like to apologise that it was not better. Usually the feedback we receive on the unit is very positive, so it is particularly worrying to hear your account of things and I have already arranged a meeting with our nursing staff to discuss the points you raise. You should have been communicated with much better throughout your time on ward – certainly about any delays in seeing a doctor if they were dealing with other, more urgent cases and about the issue of staying overnight. It is not something we have the facilities to enable on the ward and would only encourage it in special circumstances - if a patient has particularly complex needs or is extremely sick. This should have all been clearly explained to you by the nurse and I am sorry this was not the case. What especially saddens me about your story is your comment about lack of empathy and nurses laughing at patients. As a nurse, it is shocking to hear of others behaving this way and I would very much like to follow this up with the individuals involved if possible. To help me do this I would appreciate it if you could contact me directly and we could discuss your visit in more detail. My direct line is 01932 722929. I do hope your friend is recovering well now and again, I am very sorry that your experience of St Peter’s Hospital and MAU was not better. Claire Lambson

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