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Written by a patient
5th September 2019

I was an inpatient at St Barts for 1 week following a scheduled aortic valve replacement. Directly following my surgery, I was admitted to ITU, my next of kin was not informed of how the surgery went and despite ringing 6 hours after I went in (as advised) she was told to ring back and then could not get through to speak to anyone in ITU for an hour. The communication following my surgery could have been better to reassure and ease the stress and worry of my relatives. During my stay on ITU, HDU and ward 4A the nurses, doctors, pharmacists, porters and all other staff I interacted with were kind, thorough and professional. Following my surgery I was very thankful for staff who clearly wore name badges, I felt I built a better rapport and was able to remember their names better when reinforced with a badge. It enabled me to feel I could ask for help and engage with the staff better. When a staff member was not wearing a badge, despite introducing themselves, I found it difficult to remember their names and therefore felt there was less connection. There was some degree of miscommunication or complacency on discharge as I had to ask for my patient implant card (for my mechanical valve) and they had misplaced it. 6 weeks on I still do not have my implant card, which by law they are required to provide me, and no resolution has been found to provide a new one. Again, communication could be better. During my 6 week check up, I did not feel there was continuity of care, the clinic was running 1 hour 20 minutes late, and when I was eventually seen, it was by a disinterested member of staff who I had not met before. Given I had questions relating directly to my surgery, it would have been preferable to see the consultant or registrar surgeons who actually operated on me or the doctors who followed up with my care during my stay. I did not feel I got sufficient answers from the questions I posed due to the staff member not being present before, during or after my surgery so I felt the appointment was a bit of a waste of time.

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