Chopped Liver – A Day In The Life

I heard the news today.

Oh Boy!

Three hospitals have been charged with abusing patients in one form or another. A hospital in Worcestershire was starving their elderly patients to death – leaving them food they couldn’t reach or who missed their meals because they were asleep. Another in Ipswich where patients picked up nasty infections from remaining in badly soiled clothing for days upon days.

And another in North London – oh no it’s the Royal Free! My second home. What have they done wrong? They don’t respond to patients call buttons and didn’t bother to document patients’ food or fluid intake accurately. Hmmm… well, I can’t say it’s not true. In fact, I experienced both of these failures many times during my stay. I didn’t really want to say these things in my blog as I felt the nurses have a thankless task. What they have to put up with, from abusive patients to patients with uncontrollable bodily functions – hey, it’s little wonder sometimes that they don’t answer call buttons – they are simply too busy sorting someone else out.

I believe it’s more a symptom of short staffiing than anything malicious.

But I’d had enough of watching the news and hearing about my dear friend the Royal Free being publicly humiliated. So I switched over the channel – as usual there was nothing on, but I like to watch something as I eat my dinner (bad habit I know), so I ended up watching Watchdog.

Anne Robinson.

That’s a sentence in itself.

In every sense of the word.

Guess what. They had a report on the Royal Free charging more for car parking than any other hospital in the country. Oh dear, it seems it’s RFH-bashing Day – but then this is a fairly central London area with very limited space for parking so they have to charge a lot otherwise unscrupulous non-hospital could end up using the car park as a means to jumping on the tube to commute into London avoiding the congestion charge.

Ok maybe not. Anyway, this doesn’t affect me personally as I am a mere four stops on the tube to the hospital anyway – but I am sure it affects most people – especially close family from further afield visiting loved ones on a daily basis. Very expensive.

Anyway, Mr. Cameron, keep right on with your plan of massive cuts to the NHS. I am sure these criticisms reaching our TV screens today will pale into insignificance in the near future.

The Royal Free is not the Weakest Link

My experience of the NHS, and of the Royal Free in particular is…. not perfect by all the hospital staff – but awesome in many other areas. Their specialist staff – doctors, pharmacists, patient coordinators, theatre staff and many nursing staff are beyond reproach in my opinion.

If asked I will gladly, and in confidence, offer my observations as to where I see improvements could be made with no need for extra staff or time required – but I won’t use this medium.

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6 Comments on “Chopped Liver – A Day In The Life”

  1. Bethany Says:

    Mum metioned this to me earlier … but I didn’t know about the car parking charges … Thank God I have a blue badge!
    This is terrible … I know the nurses are short staffed and always busy … but they should still try harder sometimes …
    After all, most of the staff are lovely, but I’ll admit – RFH nurses didn’t come when I called sometimes, or they took up to 30 minutes, and I think it was 4 nights out of 12 that they documented what I’d eaten … plus they never measured what came out of my drains … My mum did a lot of my nursing, to be honest …
    And David Cameron’s planning more NHS cuts? Great … Someday, he’ll end up in hospital and discover what all these cuts have done … He’ll only have himself to blame when he’s on a ward with 5 times as many beds as nurses …

    • davidkallin Says:

      Indeed Bethany, far from wishing anyone spend any time as a patient in hospital I do wonder how much personal experience MP’s have on many of the services they pass judgement on

      • Bethany Says:

        I think I’m more aware of it because my mum used to be a nurse before she had me and my brother, so she remembers what it was like before …
        It’s a real shame that it’s changed so much – it sounds to me like you used to get really good care in hospital …

  2. maria de witte Says:

    I am really happy for you that you were pleased with the care. I was very unlucky and had the experience at RFH that you read in the newspapers.(X3) Now I need futher surgery but I cannot take the risk of another 3 months in ICU due to neglect.I went to other hospitals but they do not want to do my operation. I was a very highly skilled peadiatric ICU nurse myself, so I know a bit about hospital care. Every time I was there I was feeding the old people from the moment I was able to move.What is in the newspaper is what I have seen. But from what I can read is that you shared rooms with alcoholics,I always shared rooms with frail elderly ladies. And those are the ones that are not looked after. I love old people but for ward nurses they are a ‘nuisance’. I have been to(and in) the newspapers to complain about neglect at the Royal Free but it was always an ‘isolated case’. but years ago I was already aware of the neglect there.But I can see that we do not have the same opinion about the definition of good care. That does do not excist at RFH. Take it from somebody who worked in every continent on this planet.

    • davidkallin Says:

      Phew Maria – some powerful heartfelt comments in there – I’m sorry you had it so bad. I won’t comment further on what you have to say – I just wish you well.

  3. Fiona Says:

    I was treated at a hospital in the Manchester area that recently became the subject of one of those ‘undercover’ secret filming documentaries. They filmed on a number of wards, and in A&E. The most shocking was the rehabilitation ward where patients like the ones Maria describes were neglected and trivialised. I was on a surgical ward with a number of elderley ladies, and its just as Maria said, they are not properly looked after. I was at a different hospital as a day case after a biopsy, and it was just the same. Mobile patients were nursing the immobile patients while the auxilliary staff passed by the ward without coming in, or chatted behind the nursing station. Its by no means isolated to the hospitals recently named and shamed.

    I disagree its down to short staffing. My view is a mid-level of nursing has dissapeared. Plenty of excellent staff nurses and sisters who confine themselves to technical nursing by monitoring machines. Plenty of untrained auxilliaries with limited skills. Where have all the mid-rank nursing staff gone. I will add that the junior doctors worked their arses off 24/7, and the theatre staff are ace.


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