To expect proper bedding for dd in hospital

(106 Posts)
endlesstidying Thu 30-Jan-14 21:49:30

Been thinking about this and its still annoying me a week later so thought I'd ask the MN jury.

We had to call an ambulance for dd last week. She was admitted overnight onto the observation ward in the childrens hospital and they finally found her a bed just after midnight. When we got there the bed had a bottom sheet and that was it. She was exhausted by that time so I tucked her up under my coat and went to ask for a blanket and pillow. The nurse said she'd look but wasn't sure if she'd be able to find any and she didn't.

When I went to the toilet I noticed that other children were sleeping under parents coats and no one had pillows. Most of the adults were walking about cubicles as they were cold and the windows were open. The staff said they couldn't close them as they were too high up and it was freezing

Eventually I went back to A&E and asked for loudly demanded blankets and finally got half a dozen and after tucking dd in went along the ward and offered one to each parent who took them happily - this was at about 3 in the morning.

I then got told by a nurse to mind my own business and that I'd get the staff in trouble when tey were only trying to help. She seemed really upset and angry with me to be honest.

Was i being unreasonable? Would you have done the same?

PartPixie Thu 30-Jan-14 21:51:19

YANBU. I'd have done exactly the same. I bet the other parents were very grateful.

MothratheMighty Thu 30-Jan-14 21:53:22

That sounds ludicrous, no bedding?
How on earth are you being unreasonable, you should definitely take that further, why should the staff be in trouble if they were doing their jobs properly?
My classroom has very high windows, I have a window pole with a hook on the end to open and close the top ones.

Quinteszilla Thu 30-Jan-14 21:55:38

...And they still hail the NHS as an inspiration to the world.... yanbu

NomNomNom Thu 30-Jan-14 21:56:33

How bizarre! Well done for doing something about it.

Have you thought about contacting PALS?

MrsBungle Thu 30-Jan-14 21:57:14

Good god. Yanbu. That's bloody ridiculous

pigletmania Thu 30-Jan-14 21:57:19

Yanbu at all, standards are really going down the toilet

permaquandry Thu 30-Jan-14 21:58:17

I'm really surprised to hear this. I would have done exactly the same thing.

I am wondering if there is some underlying issue, red tape or lack of funds, I guess?

However, in a children's hospital ward, in winter, windows open and NO blankets? Astounding.

How is your DD. I hope she is OK?

Twighlightsparkle Thu 30-Jan-14 21:58:45

YANBU unfortunately an all too common occurrence.

My daughter attends a local hospital and also a " famous" children's hospital.

The " famous" one is shocking for things like having no pillows , blankets etc.

We take our own now, unless its an emergency admission.

Depends on the ward, kids who are there for long spells tend to have these things provided( quite rightly) but should be there for all th kids that need them

I want not to believe you. That just sounds crazy. How were the staff trying to help by not supplying bedding?

MothratheMighty Thu 30-Jan-14 21:59:46

Why weren't the nurses scrounging blankets, and asking the caretaking staff to close windows and kicking up a fuss about lack of essential resources? What happened to the bedding that should have been there?

That is ludicrous. I would complain to PALS.

endlesstidying Thu 30-Jan-14 22:01:06

The staff looked for bedding breatheslowly but they couldn't find any. They found it embarrassing I went to another department to demand it and to be honest I can sort of see their point of view sad

endlesstidying Thu 30-Jan-14 22:02:34

Permaqunadry - don't know exactly how dd is yet as still awaiting test results though she does seem to be improving thankfully but still not right.

Leverette Thu 30-Jan-14 22:02:37



Complain not only to the trust but PLEASE use the CQC complaint form on their website as this means the hosp cannot ignore it and it will trigger investigatory activity.

It's a child protection issue - failing to provide adequate warmth and comfort.

Why didn't they report the absence of bedclothes to the site manager on duty?

Why was the unit allowed to admit and host patients when functioning beds were not available?

The nurse being scared of getting into trouble is odd... I assume she realised that she should have done more to remedy the situation and yes, she should be questioned and disciplined.

(from an appalled NHS nurse)

Melfish Thu 30-Jan-14 22:06:54

YANBU. I've spent too much time in hospitals recently due to my parents, and I can say on every occasion, whether it was a day trip to A and E or a longer (in my dad's case) admission, they were always given blankets and a pillow. And the hospital wards were usually extremely warm, well for the visitors all coated up, but apparently fine for the elderly patients in their PJs.
If they can do this for adult patients in A and E or on wards surely they can for the children? Am shocked. I think that nurse had an awful attitude: aren't they supposed to be ensuring the patients are comfortable rather than worrying about upsetting or annoying other staff or departments?

endlesstidying Thu 30-Jan-14 22:08:38

Thanks Leverette those are useful thoughts. Hadnt crossed my mind it may be a child protection issue

RussianBlu Thu 30-Jan-14 22:11:52

Hospitals are most odd places. I had to unexpectedly stay with my son overnight a while ago. After being keep waiting and transferred here there and everywhere we finally arrived. I was shown a bed to sleep on. I had to read the instructions as to how to undo the bed and get it made up, then make the bed. We had no pyjamas or anything with us as it came as an emergency and because of the days goings on we hadn't really eaten since the morning. I was worn out. I was told that there was a kitchen where I could get him some toast and butter but that I wasn't allowed to get anything from there as I wasn't the patient. I had a terrible sleep. Apparently I wasn't supposed to leave my son alone on the ward but also I wasn't supposed to eat any bread from the kitchen. So basically I was supposed to starve! It was a very long 24 hours.

bigbluebus Thu 30-Jan-14 22:12:38

Definitely not acceptable. DD has been in hospital many times and although I have heard of pillow shortages - everyone normally gets one pillow and I have never heard of patients not being given blankets - although admittedly you usually need more than one on a cold night as they use those waffle type blankets with holes in ( so we usually rake our own fleece blanket as DD feels the cold)
If the ward had run out of bedding, a member of staff should have gone to look for some. Definitely complain - there are clearly issues going on here which the staff feel unable to tackle themselves.

MsVelvet Thu 30-Jan-14 22:14:00

This is ridiculous, i would go to PALS in the hospital and make a formal complaint, there is no reason for them not to have bedding, poor children!

Yanbu but I'm not surprised. My sister worked on a geriatric ward last year where they ran out of incontinence pads at least twice a month the day before a new delivery. They couldn't order more as there was money in the budget for them.

PansOnFire Thu 30-Jan-14 22:15:20

YANBU, I'm sorry you had such an awful experience. Fortunately, the children's assessment unit and wards nearest to us are much more friendly, when DS was admitted for a stomach upset they couldn't have been more helpful. So far our experience of the NHS for little ones has been second to none. Care for adults, on the other hand, definitely not acceptable...

starfishmummy Thu 30-Jan-14 22:15:50

Ds was in hospital a lot when he was younger. He used to regularly explode at both ends and getting clean sheets for his cot was a nightmare. I would always ask for the disposable bed protectors but rarely got them and (tmi) liquid poo on the thin sheets, on a waterproof mattress, just went everywhere.

They also had blankets were made of towelling fabric; I don't think I was the only parent to dry their child with a blanket!

redexpat Thu 30-Jan-14 22:18:24

PALS. Definitley.

Sirzy Thu 30-Jan-14 22:20:14

That is awful.

Whenever DS has been in hopsital bedding for children, and their parents, has never been an issue (-other than when parents steal pillows)

isitme1 Thu 30-Jan-14 22:21:01

Im in a children's hospital atm and luckily hes been given a bed with adequate bedding. So have I
I did ask 4 different nurses for a pillow for myself and got 1 when they did the 2 hourly quality check (ask parents if they need anything and its all documented)

I am however still waiting for him to re-canulated
we've been waiting 2 hours. Hes fallen asleep which means he wont sleep at all later

I know a few hospitals have problems the best thing to do would be complain

isitme1 Thu 30-Jan-14 22:21:05

Im in a children's hospital atm and luckily hes been given a bed with adequate bedding. So have I
I did ask 4 different nurses for a pillow for myself and got 1 when they did the 2 hourly quality check (ask parents if they need anything and its all documented)

I am however still waiting for him to re-canulated
we've been waiting 2 hours. Hes fallen asleep which means he wont sleep at all later

I know a few hospitals have problems the best thing to do would be complain

Iwannalaylikethisforever Thu 30-Jan-14 22:22:26

I hope your dc is getting better
It's no consolation for people who have had bad experiences but I do feel so very lucky to have nhs hospitals whenever they are needed, for whoever needs them.
One of the "famous" children's hospital"do my dd goes to is brilliant and can't do enough for us.
I think sometimes it depends on where you live, the so called postcode lottery.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Thu 30-Jan-14 22:23:12

If we didn't have enough bedding or pillows we would scrounge from other wards. Not having enough pillows is a common problem, they disappear like teaspoons.

Mikkii Thu 30-Jan-14 22:23:57

When DD2 was admitted at 13 months we were provided with blankets, no pillow but she wasn't used to one.

Unfortunately we had to wait 2 hours to be admitted to the ward as they had run out of cots confused they asked if she could be put in a bed? I replied "yes if I never close my eyes or go to the toilet, she is 13 months old!"

I had the same issue about not being fed as I wasn't breast feeding her, but fortunately she didn't want any of the breakfast I selected for her so I tidied it away into my stomach

AnneElliott Thu 30-Jan-14 22:24:38

I am not surprised. When DH was in hosp after a heart operation there were a lack of pillows and I had to bring my own.

Also when I had DS on one of the hottest days of 2006 they had the heating onshock They told me they could not get it switched off even though the rooms were nearing 100 degrees. I had to ring their press office and tell them that the mail loved stories like this. 10 mins later and someone had arrived to turn it off. You should definately complain about your experience.

AngelsWithSilverWings Thu 30-Jan-14 22:32:12

It's terrible. I was admitted just after midnight once after a miscarriage and was just given a bed with nothing to cover me. I slept under my coat but as I was attached to a drip it was really hard to stop my coat slipping off . My DH nipped home to get my dressing gown to keep me warm.

Thankfully I was moved to a different ward in the morning and was looked after a bit better after that.

isitme1 Thu 30-Jan-14 22:38:44

Thanks iwanna
that is true. We are lucky to have the nhs and I hope it comes out of the mess its in soon.

And I also agree to the postcode lottery! !
The waiting time for ds to be seen here at this childrens hospital was around 8months and we got him to see another specialist in a different area (through choose and book ) it took us upto 3 hours to get there but was worth it as they saw him within 2 days (phone call from choose and book Tuesday evening and then I emailed the hospital as they knew we were trying to get referred and they saw him as an emergency on Thursday the same week)

endlesstidying Thu 30-Jan-14 22:43:08

I do agree Iwanna honestly from a clinical point of view they couldn't have been better. They dealt with her overwhelming and immediate needs very efficiently. The doctor was amazing as were the vast majority of the nurses adn I can 't speak highly enough of the paramedics.

Cuddlydragon Thu 30-Jan-14 22:43:10

I'm afraid I think this is pretty common my DS was admitted to a big name children's hospital at 6 weeks old. All they could provide us with was a pretty dirty bottom sheet on a cot. Again late at night nursing staff couldn't find clean linen so I sent my husband home for our pram and pram sheets. It started a trend on the ward. DS spent his stay in his pram carrycot on our own clean bedding. The consultant didn't bat an eye. I couldn't bring myself to complain as I was so bloody grateful to leave with a healthy DS, but I wish I had now.

Wantsunshine Thu 30-Jan-14 22:47:06

Seriously complain. We all pay a huge amount in tax and this is not what we are paying for. This is an absolute disgrace. There is no reason for this. Absolutely disgusting treatment.

DeWe Thu 30-Jan-14 22:49:40

When I was in hospital aged 3yo, they provided nothing on the cots to cover. The idea was they had the ward at the right temperature so they didn't need it.

I hated it, and dm brought a blanket in that I would cover myself with. Ever morning I woke up to find it had been removed.

I still hate sleeping uncovered, even when really hot I'll have a sheet or something.

TheProsAndConsOfHitchhiking Thu 30-Jan-14 22:50:02

YANBU and well done!

I had a similar experience after a c section when I was really ill and having night sweats (septicaemia) I ended up having just a sheet over me and a plastic cover on the pillow which I put my dressing gown over.

That is totally bizarre! How can a hospital not have basic things like blankets and sheets?
I've just spent a weekend in our hospital with dd and there were tall trolley type things full of linen. You just chucked something in the laundry when it was dirty and got some fresh.
You should def complain so that nobody else has to go thro that.

Runwayqueen Thu 30-Jan-14 22:55:59

Hope your dc are feeling well again very very soon.

I had a similar experience late last year. After spending 9hrs on a a and e trolley I was found a bed but it had no pillow or blanket. I didn't get one till I was moved again 12hrs later.

justmyview Thu 30-Jan-14 22:58:39

Mixed feelings - OP helped people on her child's ward, but at the expense of people on A&E, who were probably in far greater need

I doubt that the A&E department would have allowed them to be taken if they couldn't be spared.

FloraPost Thu 30-Jan-14 23:11:23

YANBU, DS1 was in for a week with pneumonia last year. The ward continually ran out of bedding so we brought in our own.

Chippednailvarnish Thu 30-Jan-14 23:21:12

You must complain, using coats as bedding is a massive infection risk!

Notcontent Thu 30-Jan-14 23:48:40

That's truly shocking. It sounds like something in the third world, not a wealthy country like the UK.

Quinteszilla Fri 31-Jan-14 00:28:01

The uk is not really wealthy ... A few privileged people are wealthy but not the country.

Of maybe it is wealthy from a British perspective

IAmNotAPrincessIAmAKahleesi Fri 31-Jan-14 00:43:34

YANBU and I do think you should complain, especially about the nurse who got angry with you- how dare she tell you to mind your own business in that situation? I'm sure she was trying to cover herself for not doing more but that really is no excuse

Our local paeds ward it great but there is usually a similar lack of things on the postnatal ward. The last time I was in my DH brought in a load of pillows for me because I need them to position myself correctly in bed, the midwives kept telling me off for having them and any time I was briefly away from my bed they would try to take them shock I don't think I've ever been so riled up over pillows grin

missingmumxox Fri 31-Jan-14 01:14:25

I am shocked! I am a nurse and I have never seen a pt without beding, I have struggled to find blankets at night, because we had been forced to use them as pillows which do walk! But went to another ward for them.
Even the day all our linin was stolen and the ward next door, we managed to get enough.
My only thought on the nurse was that they where short staffed and therefore unable to leave the ward, which was ever thus, but we used to have lots of students who where not in the numbers so could be dispatched.
The biggest issue is money obviously, but also theft, sometimes with the best of intentions, such as the day my bs as a baby was admitted in the night. All his clothing ruined and discharge the next day, the bed was needed, he was well, and I just wanted to go home, the nurse wrapped him in ward blankets which I doubt I ever returned.
I have also done this on discharge for elderly patients on patient transport which can be cold.
I would have done the same as you.
On the lady who described being under hospital arrest, not allowed to leave her son! I found as a student nurse, on the paed ward I worked on, and as a parent the nurses are spoilt, this is only 1 trust so not fair on all paed nurses, but they are there to care, and act in
Loco patentis, I can't stay in as I have no family, husband works away (would come back but this could take time) and I have other children to care for.
Also as a ICU nurse I have met family mbers who have sat in Vidgil, and lost their job. Not many but enough, so some parents could at the least loose pay.

diddl Fri 31-Jan-14 07:20:06

Is there no bedding at all on this ward then or had it all gone elsewhere??

ChunkyPickle Fri 31-Jan-14 07:39:23

I am amazed! When DS was in hospital they couldn't have been better - electric beds, pillows/blankets as requested (for parents staying over too) the ward was kept warm because lots of the kids had monitors and couldn't easily be dressed.

Was a bit of a shock when I rolled up in the post-cs maternity ward of the same hospital to discover things weren't quite like that for new mothers though..

MrsDeanAmbrose Fri 31-Jan-14 07:41:38

Definitely complain.

My experience when DS was admitted to hospital was brilliant. No issue with dirty sheets, bedding or cleanliness. When the NHS works, it is superb.

scottishmummy Fri 31-Jan-14 07:46:36

I suggest you officially complain.keep it factual.dates,events,location
The hospital are required to respond to you

Holidaysressential Fri 31-Jan-14 07:50:39

I work in paediatrics and I suspect the issue was that it was an observation ward ie a paediatric admissions unit. So your child had not been formally admitted yet but had come up from a and e and was waiting further assessment and a period of observation.
So our admissions unit does not have bedding apart fr
Bottom sheet as the change over is every couple of hours. The problem is ( and you should still complain !) is when this happens at night and if they don't find your child a bed on the proper ward often due to lack of beds they hold you at the assessment stage hence no bedding. Although sometimes this is preferential to transferring to a different hospital which is one of the other options when ward is full and their our children in observation area requiring permanent admission. How long did your child stay on this part of the unit ?

diddl Fri 31-Jan-14 07:56:58

If the windows are too high to close- are they always open then?

And how where they opened in the first place?

So the problem is perhaps more lack of beds & wards not being used for intended purposes?

Still, you'd think some blankets would be handy for an area where closing windows is difficult!

2rebecca Fri 31-Jan-14 08:01:22

I'm not a big fan of complaining officially as often it's just personality clashes or differing expectations but in this case I would as it is an easily sortable problem that is affecting alot of children. If having children stay on observation wards overnight is something that sometimes happens (and it sounds as though there were other kids there as well) then they should have facilities for them.
I would praise the staff who were helpful but say that if the hospital keeps children overnight in any type of ward then their should be bedding for them.

Ah that makes sense holidays. We were in a ward like that for a few hours before being admitted overnight and yes the beds just had bottom sheets. Dd fell asleep on one but it was so hot she didn't need a cover.

OHforDUCKScake Fri 31-Jan-14 08:06:57

Yet another reason Im absolutely busting to become a nurse.

Crowler Fri 31-Jan-14 08:08:13

YANBU. Can't believe that.

ProfPlumSpeaking Fri 31-Jan-14 08:14:22

Complain to PALS, complain to the Governors of the Trust, complain to the CEO and Chair of the NHS Trust responsible and inform the Care Quality Commission whose role now includes "making sure hospitals in England provide people with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care"

Galaxymum Fri 31-Jan-14 08:22:38

I would complain - although I doubt it will get you anywhere. I think quite honestly it's just something that i an issue as the NHS is falling apart.

My local hospital couldn't cope with dealing with my allergies and my mum used to bring my meals in. They just shrugged it off and said tough.

We used to have paper sheets on dermatology - that was appalling.

WitchWay Fri 31-Jan-14 08:28:36

Your DD isn't being treated for tuberculosis in the 19th century by any chance?

gimcrack Fri 31-Jan-14 08:29:24

When ds2 had an op, the nurses put up a camp bed for me and we both had bedding. Trying to get regular pain relief for DS, though, was another matter...

Sadly it doesn't surprise me. And it certainly is a postcode lottery.

Dd1 is more medically stable now but when younger was a regular on the paediatric ward and paediatric HDU. Getting her drugs at the right time used to be almost impossible, although it has to be said the auxiliaries were amazing.

MiaowTheCat Fri 31-Jan-14 09:09:19

Complain - otherwise the staff will go on being frazzled over stuff that isn't their fault - a few complaints might be the kick up the arse higher up that's needed to change things.

Bonkers though - when I was in off-on labour prematurely and being kept in because of it and my tendency to go 0-baby in under 10 minutes, DH was sleeping on the floor and the staff kept getting so worried about him and returning with more and more blankets and pillows for him - when he woke up he must have been buried under about 10 of them! He did fall asleep beside the big birthing ball and ended up having a dream that Jupiter was about to fall on him though!

lilsupersparks Fri 31-Jan-14 21:24:11

It doesn't surprise me. I was in hospital with a massive abscess on my neck and a skin infection down my chest that meant I couldn't rest on my face or lie flat on my back. They were unable to find me a pillow in a and e or my first ward.

When I was sent home before I got better and I returned the next day I took a pillow with me. Sadly I was only seen by a nurse in a and e, despite asking to see my specialist as advised and sent home again. The next day I returned to hospital (with pillows again!) to be told it was life threatening and I needed an operation that day (a Sunday so a surgeon had to be rushed in from miles away)

I am so thankful for the nhs but surely pillows should be a given really? I was also moved wards 6 times in 5 nights.
I know they were stretched, but god it was horrible. And no one to hold my hand as I was desperately sad, scared and missing my babies :-(

ElizaCBennett Sat 01-Feb-14 19:48:53

We had exactly the same issue when my elderly mother broke her hip. The hospital was newly built costing millions. They could not supply a blanket to cover an old lady in a wheelchair wearing a nightdress in January. She was taken in by ambulance. They said she would have a blanket when she got a bed, but 'her' bed still had someone in it!

Mamagoose01 Sat 01-Feb-14 20:13:16

Id defiantly contact PALS, not right that there was not bedding for children! I've been in the Birmingham children's hospital with my son an they had plenty bedding (had to get an sort it myself but was just content to be with my son)

FuzzyWuzzywasaWoman Sat 01-Feb-14 20:26:57

I work for a busy large NHS hospital and this is appalling. I have to say pillows are a constant battle, but blankets and sheets should have been prioity. The nurse should have either phoned the night porters to obtain extra linen from somewhere or contacted the duty manager to sort out the problem. If you managed to get them from another ward then so should she and a damn sight sooner. Contact PALS and put it in writing. Hope you're little one is better soon.

FutTheShuckUp Sat 01-Feb-14 20:53:43

I worked for a childrens hospital which was a national centre for excellence. We frequently ran out of pillows, bed sheets and other things. It was very embarrasing. We used to have to go to other wards who would also report they had none.

FutTheShuckUp Sat 01-Feb-14 20:54:11

Mamagoose- was that hospital

Misspixietrix Sat 01-Feb-14 21:18:15

YNBU <wonders if it's the same hospital Dd Pixie frequents>. Funnily enough we always have to ask for a Blanket in A & E as there never is any than the ward. I wouldnt go through PALs by the way. When I complained through their channels when a GP fucked up over Ds his notes went 'missing' for MONTHS! shock. You're a lot more less wimpier than I am confident than I am. Hope your Dd is better soon.

Topaz25 Sat 01-Feb-14 21:45:55

YANBU! The nurse told you to mind your own business?! Your child's welfare is your business and should be hers too! Sounds like she cares more about covering her own ass than covering a cold child with a blanket! Otherwise she would have asked another ward for blankets herself. I don't understand why people who don't care get into a caring profession. Please complain.

This reminds me of when my dad was in hospital before he died. We had to remind them of the basics like making sure he got his meds, bedding and commode and there was an evil nurse who violated his confidentiality by loudly complaining about caring for him in front of the whole ward. It was horrible. If there is any justice in the world she will end up in an NHS hospital one day. I always wondered what happened to the patients who didn't have people to stand up for them, they must just have suffered in silence sad

Topaz25 Sat 01-Feb-14 21:50:03

*as a patient in an NHS hospital

Do people just steal hospital pillows?

FanFuckingTastic Sat 01-Feb-14 21:57:16

Never understood how pillows were always in short supply, do they get stolen?

I needed about four pillows when I was hospitalized as I find sleeping painful without the propping pillows and between the knees pillow.

Chippednailvarnish Sat 01-Feb-14 22:05:37

People rob hospitals blind.

When I worked in the NHS everything that could be stolen would be stolen, to the point we were targeted by gangs looking for portable defibulators to sell abroad. We had cases of people hanging around outside private rooms "casing" them to rob later.

Ironically though shortages of bed linen were normally because of timing issues with laundry distribution and patients being sent home / transfered in ambulances with the hospital's blankets and pillows.

moldingsunbeams Sat 01-Feb-14 22:28:54

When I took dd to hospital five or so years ago we had this although we did have another bed sheet as a 'blanket', it was freezing cold and no pillows either.

moldingsunbeams Sat 01-Feb-14 22:40:15

russianblu I was saying exactly the same to my Mum the other day, when dd was first admitted as an emergency (she was a baby at the time) I had had to stop breastfeeding shortly before as I was on strong medicine following an emergency operation myself so stopped under recommendation of the consultant.

Because I was not breastfeeding I was not allowed the milk or toast from the parents room or a cup of tea, I was also not allowed a meal because I was not breastfeeding and as they had put dd in a side room I was not allowed to leave her. She was in for five days days!!

I had been out at the doctors and the doctors had sent her in so I literally had nothing.

On the second and third day the lady who dished out dinners sneaked me some of the left over food for one of the meals.

My parents (who did not live near by) came up the third day with spare clothes and money and sandwiches and sat with her while I went to the canteen to eat but I wonder what on earth people did who had no one at all.

moldingsunbeams Sat 01-Feb-14 22:45:46

Its true chipped, someone one stole the battered old microwave off the ward my mum worked on, she was most pissed off as her dinner was in it at the time... shock

Twighlightsparkle Sat 01-Feb-14 23:43:55

This will out me perhaps however.

My daughter has major food intolerances and at the time could only eat a few foods, prior to hospital,admission we were told to bring our own food.

When we got there told no, against health and safety, but they couldn't provide anything she could eat. A child inthebed opposite ate takeaway ( allowed apparently) yet the soup. Etc I'd cooked couldn't be given.

I discharged her against medical advice.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sat 01-Feb-14 23:44:36

On a few (rare) occasions we've found parents eating our lunches. They have full access to the ward kitchen so I'm not sure why staff lunches need to be nicked. All food is labelled.

We've also caught a couple of people stealing our formula milk, shoving it into bags. Play stations have been stolen and DVDs and games go missing all the time.

Pillows are the one thing that routinely disappear, I would love to know where they go.

Marrow Sat 01-Feb-14 23:51:29

YANBU. My prem DS was readmitted to hospital after we had been home for only a week. He was still 4 weeks before his due date. He wasn't even given any sheets as they had run out so they put towels in his cot instead. They also told me that they were running short of the ready made up bottles of formula and suggested I used my own formula. When I asked the nurse if there was a steriliser I could use she told me just to rinse out the bottle. This was for a sick, premature baby FFS!

MiscellaneousAssortment Sun 02-Feb-14 00:23:04

It's sad, the NHS routinely fail on the absolute basics of human care, like food, water, hygiene and basic comfort... These are real issues and get ignored in favour of h&s etc.

I know people are protective of the NHS, but giving it godlike status doesn't make it any better.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Sun 02-Feb-14 01:18:13

Back when DD was born, I was one of the first crop of mothers to use the shiny new Antenatal ward in the local hospital. It was early February and totally freezing! The draft was so bad that the ceiling tiles were lifting and we had one pillow and blanket each. As there weren't many people using the wards yet, we poached all of the bedding from the empty beds, but it was still pretty horrendous. The nurses weren't happy and insisted that they would have to take them back if the beds were needed, there were no spares!
and don't even get me started on the food!

NoLikeyNoLighty Sun 02-Feb-14 01:24:06

OP, YANDNBU, I'd have done EXACTLY the same. So they gave you blankets at your request? So they had them in the first place, just weren't giving them out unless it was under duress?!
Stuff that.
If it was one of my children in there. I'd be kicking up a right stink until they had adequate covers/bedding!

missingmumxox Sun 02-Feb-14 04:01:36

Yes people steal stuff all the time, my post up thread, stated that, 2 linen rooms, and they are rooms, completely striped bare, over the following week almost every ward had this happen.
TV's, wheel chairs, crutches, chairs, food, staff property including food, staff cars in staff car parks, ( pretty safe bet a car parked at 1pm will not be noticed missing unto nearly 10pm, but enough staff leaving between 2 and 4 pm not to arouse suspicion if someone "bump starting" or "lost keys"

Dressings, patient property, flowers, vases, commodes...
You name it it is stollen, hospitals are public spaces and difficult to control.

And people seem to think, it doesn't matter

Misspixietrix Sun 02-Feb-14 09:10:43

They nick the Toilet Roll at the Hospital my Ex works in. It's not even the good sort! confused.

thegreylady Sun 02-Feb-14 09:48:24

When I had my op for breast cancer my pre admission letter suggested I brought my own pillows as:"there may not be sufficient to ensure comfort". In the event there were two on the bed but my own gave me flexibilty to be comfortable when propped up.

FutTheShuckUp Sun 02-Feb-14 11:27:52

One of my patients parents stole a flat screen tv off the wall off the parents room using tools so a pre planned jobby then pushed it out of the hospital in a pushchair under a blanket. People seem to think the nhs is a never ending pot of money but that item was bought from charitable donations to enable parents who's children are in hospital to have a more comfortable stay hmm

SadOldGit Sun 02-Feb-14 11:45:38

I hope your DD is feeling better. I never cease to be amazed at what is stolen. Pillows constantly have to be hunted for (I work in maternity and many women bring in their own pillows - wonder if ours go home as well!) I am based in community and regularly see babies at home wrapped in NHS blankets.

Wheelchairs are constantly stolen - many trusts order ones with welded chassis to prevent them folding to fit in car boots etc.

Where I used to work a flat screen display unit (it was the education centre and displayed the room bookings etc) was ripped off the wall and stolen in broad daylight.

The piece de resistance though was when I worked in a rehab unit and someone stole a piano (full size one) - just wheeled it out and no one blinked - until the next day when someone went to play it and realised it was gone!

FanFuckingTastic Sun 02-Feb-14 12:02:53

I am absolutely shocked at how hospital property is treated, I would never think that sort of thing happened. People make charitable donations to help the hospitals have nice facilities, and that is reprehensible behaviour!

BionicEmu Sun 02-Feb-14 15:10:04

A few weeks ago I took 3yo DS to A&E as he was vomiting copiously after hitting his head. After several hours the doctor said he needed to be admitted. A couple of hours later, at about 2am, a nurse came into the waiting room & led us to a side room with a trolley thing in. She explained there were no beds anywhere in the hospital for DS to go to, so we would have to stay there. I asked for at least a blanket, but none could be found.

So poor DS was on the bare vinyl trolley with his coat draped over him. I lay my coat on the floor & just lay down & slept on that. (Plus, I have back issues & could hardly move the next morning).

This was at a new, big hospital. This, in addition to their questionable clinical decisions, means that no way in hell will I be stepping foot in that hospital again.

Viviennemary Sun 02-Feb-14 15:16:28

YANBU. That's disgraceful. But in no way surprises me I'm afraid. The NHS lost the plot quite a few years ago. IMHO.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sun 02-Feb-14 15:34:10

Horrendous stories. You need to name and shame and get pics into the press as this is sadly the only thing that seems to get a response these days.

glastocat Sun 02-Feb-14 15:48:36

That's outrageous! We are in oz and my son had a spell in hospital recently with a burst appendix. Not only was there a fully stocked linen closet if anyone needed extra bedding or towels (for parents to use for showers too) but also personal DVDs and a DVD library, play stations to borrow, breakfast for parents, and the top floor was a games arcade, craft rooms and teenager hangout. That's how it should be I reckon, alright the games room etc is a luxury but a sheet and pillow isn't!

ProfPlumSpeaking Sun 02-Feb-14 18:37:40

I have found this thread illuminating: as an NHS governor myself, I am def going to find out if this is happening under my watch and what, if anything, is being done about it. Anyone have any ideas how to stop the pilfering of linen and pillows as that seems to lie at the heart of the shortages?

Chippednailvarnish Sun 02-Feb-14 18:57:56

Make them absolutely hideous, with "Property of the NHS" in huge letters visible from every angle. Irregularly shaped pillows would also help as regular cases wouldn't fit...

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sun 02-Feb-14 18:58:18

I don't know where pillows go, it's been a problem in every nursing job I've had, as has stuff being stolen.

Sometimes the timing of the linen delivery affects it. There's been numerous times we've phoned the linen room asking for linen as we've run out and I'm not sure what happens on a weekend.

Other wards come and borrow but then that leaves us short. Obviously there are some patients who need more than one pillow so then we're short and some parents want two! We have to say no else there's not enough to go round.

Leaving patients without bedding is unacceptable. If we're short I phone around and borrow but I've had to make pillows out of towels before, it's embarrassing.

endlesstidying Sun 02-Feb-14 19:21:22

Just catching up. Dd was on the observation ward for nearly 10 hours so not a short period of time.

Horrendous to hear about so much stuff being stolen. I admit that when ds was born I accidentally took a blanket home with us but I did return it a few weeks later when I took the midwives boxes of chocolates.

I've written to pals so will waot to see what happens next.

missingmumxox Mon 03-Feb-14 00:58:06

Prof plum, it is so wide spread, as a nurse you don't even find it shocking, I remember reporting to the nurse in charge the linen room had been striped bare, just because it meant we couldn't do any if the beds, and it had been timed for handover as on my way into the ward for 7.30 I had gone to help another nurse with a pt who had been incontinant, grabbed some linen, changed the bed with her, 15 mins later after handover went to get the linen for my 6 patient (them where the days 2 people per 6 and we didn't do drips,bloods or cannulas, and you would have a couple of self careers.... And still rushed off your feet)
And the room was bare.
I has my belt Buckel stolen, when I took it off to assist in a tricky manuver when a lady fell and somehow got wedged under her bed, I placed it on the locker, her family where there, my and the Dr got her out, back in bed, I turned round to pick my belt and Buckle up and they had gone, I searched about, but gave up witnessing smerks between the family, as a nurse you are not allowed to accuse anybody of anything appart from abuse or theft to a patient.
I reported this to my ward manager and she bless her instigated an immediate ward move of said patient which resulted in the removal of everything it wasn't found.
Basically as a nurse you suck it up, if a patient loses a ring, the family will say it must have been staff... How many reports if ring theft have you seen? I saw a few always families, I would intervene and say "gosh that looks loose, let me put it in pt property for you "
After a year as a student I would test rings on people and if they could come off, they did straight into pt property, even though I know how important wedding rings are to people to wear...
Don't be sip prised if staff look blankly at you, it's like violence against staff, I remember doing a survey and laughing.. Violence against me it's never happened, then thinking oh the lady who stabbed me with the folk, and the one who grabbed me by my apron, and the relative you backed me into a corner jabbing me.... To name a few

Jabbed all NHS property is marked, when I worked on community I would enter house after house with NHS marked stuff, my gave was a friend who said the entire household was curtisey of the NHS including tv with little sign saying, property of NHS donated to x ward by the league of friends.

You can't report because as a nurse you have to treat your patient not judge and not hinder care , best way to discribe it is we are like priests. In many ways this is correct, families need to trust you, in many others I just want to shop them the bastards!!!!

ProfPlumSpeaking Mon 03-Feb-14 10:28:29

Thanks for the heads up everyone. Non standard sized pillows, to be stored separately from the non standard sized pillow cases sounds like a good idea. I am not sure how hideous you could make the linen, mind, as the patients need to feel comfortable, but a prominent marking (consistent with boil washing) would seem like another good idea. I will talk to the man in charge of procurement and see if it could be feasible - any extra cost should be cancelled out with reduced theft you would think (but may be under different cost centres which always causes problems).

I will suggest a survey question (we are always doing surveys) to be included in the next survey, about theft to get more of an idea of the problem.

IceBeing Mon 03-Feb-14 10:50:29

I am just shock at this whole thread....the lack of blankets and the thefts.

How can people be SO stupid as to steal from the NHS?!?!?

MiaowTheCat Mon 03-Feb-14 13:12:07

I must have had all the NHS pillows when I was in with DD2 then - they kept on bringing me the buggers - I had about three, kept putting one on the chair by the bed as they were too many... so they'd see I only had two and brought me MORE!

SusanneLinder Mon 03-Feb-14 13:29:00

To the parents that say they aren't allowed to leave their children in paed wards, er I would be complaining. My DD is a student paed nurse, and one of her jobs was to sit with kids while the parents went for some food/sleep/shower/break.

As someone further up said, paed nurses are in locos parentis, so they cannot tie you to your childs bed.Ridiculous.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 03-Feb-14 14:49:42

I'm not surprised at this. I've worked for the nhs for years, pillows, decent sheets and blankets are like gold dust.

Pillows are a huge problem. Most of the problem on my ward is people being discharged. The ambulance crew turn up with stretchers with one pillow, our patients (geriatric medicine) quite often need two/three pillows so we send them on with the crew. We never get them back. We then have to pay for more out of our ward budget.
We can sometimes get some from the linen room (if they have spare) but quite often they have to be ordered from the supplier which can take a few days. If it's a high turnover ward, you've got no hope of getting one quickly.

Blankets, pillows and bed sheets - linen services are contracted out. Every hospital is allocated a certain amount per week. Some are kept in reserve in the main stores. Again, if there is a high turnover of patients, we can go through our allocated amount quickly. As you can imagine on a geriatric ward, we go through loads because patients can soil them or get food/drink on them frequently.

Most wards are fiercely protective of their stock. We ring other wards all the time but they often say they have no stock, even when they have a cupboard full.

It usually takes a complaint to upper management (if you can get hold of them) to get some.

It's a pain in the arse!

blue88 Fri 07-Feb-14 23:12:42

Nearly every time I have anything to do with an NHS hospital I witness situations like this. Almost everyone I know has had at least one such experience. An elderly relative of mine is currently in a hospital with suspected gangrene in his toes. Every day when I phone I'm told the diagnosis still isn't confirmed as they are still waiting for podiatry and the surgeons to visit - manana, whatever. Yesterday a nurse I spoke to only spoke to me reluctantly, v rushed and brusque - she wanted me to speak to my uncle directly and ask him about whether or not he had gangrene and whether his toes would need amputating! In January, I visited someone else in another hospital and an old man in the next bed was hurriedly discharged in his hospital gown back home where he was living alone - no one knew if his family had been told or whether he even had his keys.
Why should we be so grateful for the NHS? How do they manage in other countries with advanced economies which fund and manage their healthcare differently? I've heard that while these healthcare systems have their share of problems, they are on the whole much more efficient than the NHS!
As a country we are much too dependent on the welfare state.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now