Watford General Hospital
Written by a NHS patient
8th April 2021
My mother was admitted to respiratory Red Suite ward in the AAU unit at Watford General and received excellent care not just for her pneumonia but also for her Parkinson’s and severe neck problems. The staff were friendly and very caring and I felt she was in excellent hands and I could switch off and relax.
Our problems with lack of care started when they transferred her to the disaster that is Aldenham ward.
Phoning Aldenham ward is literally a nightmare. For the first week of a three week stay the phone wasn’t working properly and they sometimes couldn’t hear you see it keep dialling back. For the last week the line went down and couldn’t get through at all and I had to phone the operator.
So not only can you barely ever reach the staff/nurses — and at times I had to try 10 times or leave it ringing for over 15 minutes (and still not get through on that occasion) (this was not during shift changeovers) to get through to them, — but when you do at times some of the nurses/staff barely understood what I was saying so bad was their English. One day it took me 5 hours and dozens of calls and I still hadn’t got through by 2pm. I gave up. Imagine not being able to see your loved ones because I’ve Covid restrictions and them not being able to talk to them either. It is an utter disgrace. And when I complained to “patient advice liaison” guess what? That’s right, the phone just rang and rang and rang.
Whilst my mother only complained once about neck pain (from her Parkinson’s) in the Red Suite when she first arrived, she complained about it practically every day in Aldenham ward because they left her with her head and chin bent forward on her breast plate (giving her the sensation of choking) and this despite sending the exact same photograph (depicting how to keep my mother’s head upright with a neck brace and pillows) to both wards. Red Suite ward followed our simple instructions of how to support my mother’s head and neck with pillows and cushions and the neck brace we dropped off in the first days of my mother’s stay.
Whilst there are other issues that I won’t go into, suffice to say that my mother is utterly exhausted and “at the end of her tether.” She asked me “how can one human being treat another human being so badly.” I gather she isn’t getting as much sleep as she needs and is very agitated about the situation.
I am now pushing for a full discharge regardless of whether she needs to finish treatment.
It is literally like she was transferred to a completely different hospital when they moved my mother out of Red Suite into Aldenham. Horrible experience.