Queen Alexandra Hospital
Written by a patient
1st February 2020
Re: Complaint of poor service – ENT Ward (D8) of Queen Alexandra Hospital
I was transferred from MFU/St Richard Hospital to ENT Ward in the QAH at lunch time on 3rd December 2019. I was seen by the doctor in the ENT ward and the doctor in the eye clinic. I was sent to the bed no 23 for the IV treatment in the bed.
I was suffering from sinus infection, swollen Lt Eye, swollen Lt side of my face and severe headache. I saw my GP twice, but the condition did not improve. The pressure of the Lt Eye was unbearable. I self-funded to do the OCT Scan from the Boot Optician. He told me my vision was not affected.
On Saturday, 30th November 2019, I had temperature and I could not open my left eye. My face
was puffy. So, my husband took me to see the out of hour, doctor at the SRH.
The doctor took me to A & E to see the MFU doctor. I was informed about all the blood tests,
X Ray and CT scan, then later I was admitted to the MFU Ward for IV treatment.
The nurse and doctors of the MFU ward did an excellent job. My condition started to improve; the puffy subsided, I could get back my vision from my left eye. They told me ENT was the best for my further treatment. The ENT Dept is in Portsmouth QAH. At noon, on 3rd December 2019,
I was transferred to QAH by ambulance.
On 3rd Dec, in the evening, I felt very cold in the room because the window of Bed No 22 was opened. The lady of bed no 22 (opp of my bed) had requested a window to be opened (outside temperature was 3℃) I requested it to be closed and I was told NO. She claimed she was suffering from asthma & heart problem. She said she needed fresh air in her room during her sleeping. The temperature was 3℃ outside. I asked the nurse for a thicker blanket and the window closed. She said NO and she told me to ask my husband bring a woolly to me from home (I live in Bognor Regis about 30 miles away from the QAH). She could not close the window.
The hospital only provides a thin blanket; the quality of a blanket just liked a bed sheet called blanket. I was wearing a thin thermal, a cotton pyjama and cotton dressing grown, but I still felt very cold. The lady in the bed next to me wearing two jumpers, woolly hat and covering a thick woolly blanket in bed. I was assured she got the experience sleeping in a clod room in the QA Hospital.
At about mid-night, I got out of my bed to the nurse station and told the nurse I would like to make a formal complaint about window being opened all night. She contacted the nurse in charge to talk to me. I requested to change my bed to another room or closed the window. She told me I was not allowed to change my bed; no bed was available. I told her there were some empty rooms with single bed at the end of the corridor. She asked me if I got a health insurance cover. The answer was “ No” Do I require a health insurance to stay in a NHS hospital? It was the first time in my life admitted to a hospital. I asked for the price for change to those single bed rooms. She told me she did not know the price. She had no intention to find out more information for me. How long will it takes to clean up a room if it is required in the morning? I asked if I could sleep in the staff TV Room. She replied I was not allowed to. She could go and close a bit of the window of bed no 22. I went back to my bed and try to sleep, but I could not lie on my bed. The lady of bed no 22 started to make a scene. She was not happy to be told close the window a little bit. She was confused and agitated. The nurse had no experience on how to guide her how to breath through her nose, not with her mouth. Her oxygen machine was turned on high due to her condition and called on every one at her bed side. I suggested the machine should perhaps be moved away for a distant from her bed, then the heat from the machine would not affect her. I got out of my bed and grabbed two chairs for sleeping in the corridor. It was not my position for me to advise them. I was very tired and headache. I just wanted to sleep.
I am also suffering from high blood pressure, asthma and spine degeneration. The doctors in QAH may heal the sinus infection; the cold temperature in this room may activate my asthma and kill me.
After 30 minutes sleeping in the chair in the corridor, the nurse woke me up and told me I could sleep in the sofa in the staff TV Room. She helped me to set up the sofa for sleeping on. I appreciated her help. It was lovely that I could sleep for a few hours. She woke me up at 6.30am.
In the morning, the lady in the bed no 22 told every one in the ward, it was my fault making her poorly last night. I ignored her behaviour and stayed in my bed……see the attachment of her picture. I told my experience to my friends and relatives around the world through social media.
I requested to be discharged to home when the doctor reviewed my condition in the morning. I suggested if my local DN team could give me IV Treatment or my GP surgery. I was told they could not do it. As to my knowledge, they are still giving IV Treatment at the patient’s home. It might not happen in Portsmouth, but it is normal procedure in West Sussex. Is it too much for her to arrange it? I could not carry on staying in a cold room. The nurse in charge was talking over my shoulder that I should have had more sympathy to the lady in the bed no 22. How about my well being? I ignored her comment and carried on talking to the doctor. I could not know her name. She did not introduce herself when we first met. I think it is the practice of the nurses, not introduce her/him to the patients in QAH…..WHY?
In the St Richard Hospital, the nurse in charge says hello and introduces herself to the patients when she first meets the patients. Her name is written on the board at the front door of the ward.
In Queen Alexander Hospital, you will not know who the nurse in charge is. You may realise the one with a different uniform with a stone face was in charge sitting behind the main nurse station.
I am writing to you and hope other patients will not encounter my experience in QAH in future.
I would like to draw your attention for a few issues as following…..
1) Infection issue; the nurse should use a clean tray and sterile glove for giving IV treatment. They are using unsterile paper tray, unsterile glove and leaving the syringe (for flushing) on unclean table. And the butterfly dressing should be replaced after 4 days or the dressing becomes dogged. It has been more than ten years the guide line required to use a clean blue tray for giving IV treatment. If the patient feels not comfortable with the butterfly dressing, we will replace it on different site. On Wed, 4th December, I requested to replace the butterfly dressing because it became uncomfortable after 4 days on my elbow. The nurse went out to ask, but she returned with a very sad face and carried on giving me the IV treatment. I assumed that she had not got the skill to replace it and she was told to ignore me. I did not ask her the reason because I did not want to see her crying. In my experience in the local community nursing team for 15 years, if the IV girl was off, we would arrange the staff of the paramedic team dropped in the patient’s home or the patient visit the A&E / SRH for replacing the butterfly dressing. There was no problem at all.
2) Staff training; the support worker should be trained before she was told to take off the butterfly dressing for the patients. The SW has no knowledge how to do it. She just tore the dressing off my elbow. I told her to stop, not to tear off my skin and guided her how to do it in a good practice. There was only unsterile cotton wool ball I could use to damp the dressing to prepare rip off from my skin. I wonder if the senior RGNs monitor the skills of their staff. In Western Sussex NHS Trust, the RGN Bank 7 will visit the patients with each of her staff before she writes the staff appraisal reports each year. So, she will be sure her staffs meet all their job requirement.
3) Customer skill; all the nurses should introduce herself / himself when they first meet a patient. The names of the nurse in charge and the duty doctor should be written on the notice board at front door of the ward. They should be trained to smile, not sit behind the desk with a stone face. No one dares to talk to this nurse anything. And the patient should know and understand all her/his treatment, not to talk with each other with her hand covered her mouth about the patient who is in front of her. It was the end of the year 2019, not 1980. It was unprofessional behaviour for a senior RGN.
4) Double check the prescription: I was told by the nurse in charge to have a nasal drop twice a week when I was discharged from QAH. It was a steroid drop for stop the swelling. But, when I met the consultant after 4 weeks for review my condition, he told me it should be twice a day for 6 weeks. The consultant’s name was on the discharged note, but not prescribed by him. He told me the junior doctor printed his name on it. He prescribed another nasal drop to me.
I was proud of being a member of a community nursing team of the Western Sussex NHS Trust for 15 year. I also worked in the surgical operation theatre for the Chichester Nuffield Hospital for 14 years. It was not my position to tell the nurses their practice was not up to the standard. Most patients would not know their right and be put up with it. In my time with the community nursing team we had met patients discharged from QAH to home with infection. They were arranged to send to the infection & Prevention control team at the Oxford University Hospital. It was not necessary for the suffering and time consuming.
For me, the wrong dose slows down my recovery. I returned to my GP for one more course of antibiotic after discharged from QAH for two weeks.