One retired GP wrote ' I felt ashamed of my profession and cried at your distress'

(94 Posts)
claig Sat 08-Dec-12 13:45:07

Ann Clywd MP asked a question in this week's PMQ and it was very emotional.

It is yet another case of disgusting treatment of patients in our hospitals. Why does this continue?

I hope there is an effective campaign that can change such shocking treatment.

scottishmummy Sat 08-Dec-12 14:01:37

firstly how v tragic and sad
probably lots factors eg financial cuts,not enough staff on duty,low morale,lack of attention, inadequate care, hosp lacking in duty care
terrible to have this enacted on loved one

claig Sat 08-Dec-12 14:16:36

scottish, something has to be done about this. Our hospitals must have management procedures that never allow disgusting treatment of patients and their loved ones. The public pays for these services and the public deserves a first-class service.

We spend billions on our health service. We all deserve much better.

If the loved ones of prominent people receive such treatment, then what sort of treatment might the general public receive.

There are so many shocking stories of bad treatment of elderly people. Andy Burnham said on Question Time that the health service is very good, but that as an MP his postbag does contain letters which indicate that some elderly people suffer from dehydration on hospital wards.

These things have been reported so often, and yet they still seem to continue.

There needs to be a national urgency to change the culture that allows these things to occur.

scottishmummy Sat 08-Dec-12 14:20:07

I agree,inadequate care is a failing
pragmatically trusts are under pressure,govt cuts,low morale,work pressure
now none if these factors excuse poor care,but do explain situationally how things arise

tiredemma Sat 08-Dec-12 14:21:19

When you have one nurse doing the job of three nurses you are going to have situations whereby care and standards are delivered much lower than we should expect.

claig Sat 08-Dec-12 14:22:47

They tell us on TV that it is partly to do with the "training" and that there is an emphasis on degrees etc. and not enough on people skills. But I don't believe that that is at the heart of it. You don't need to train people to have human compassion and feeling.

It must be something else, and it should be able to be solved by a good management which makes treating patients and their loved ones a paramount goal.

scottishmummy Sat 08-Dec-12 14:24:47

yes posts get frozen,staff leave not replaced
Huge workload ESP winter and seasonal illnesses
I hope mp has complained about this,it's awful

OpheliasWeepingWillow Sat 08-Dec-12 14:25:33

I am sad to say I have been in hospitals in the UK, Africa and Asia and it is only in the UK (NHS) that I have been insulted, ignored, shouted at and made to feel like a worm for being ill by nurses.

This includes public hospitals in developing countries.

I cannot imagine how nursing in the UK has become so bad (from personal experience). The thought of being hospitalized in the UK again gives me chills.

Again, only based on personal experience.

claig Sat 08-Dec-12 14:27:01

It is not just staff shortages. As Ann Clywd said

'She recalls: ‘Every time I tried to talk to one of the nurses, they were either on the phone or talking to one another. I know they were busy, but it did not explain how they could completely ignore a patient.

‘Whenever I asked when we’d see someone, the answer was always: “In a minute.” There was busy-ness, laughter, joking … but nobody addressed our concerns.
‘A doctor arrived with a tick list. He was brusque, arrogant and rude — he didn’t even introduce himself. When I asked, “What’s your name?”, he looked at me as if I’d said something impertinent. After he’d asked his questions, he just went off.'

There is something deeply wrong in the culture. Maybe management 'targets' have contributed to this turning away from patient care. I don't know. But somebody needs to look into why this occurs so often.

Welovecouscous Sat 08-Dec-12 14:27:19

Terrible sad

tiredemma Sat 08-Dec-12 14:28:01

I think that the media would want us to believe that since nursing became an all graduate profession that standards have slipped. I don't believe this. I'm a ward manager , my best nurses are the newly/recently qualified. They are keen, energetic and deliver exemplary care.

OpheliasWeepingWillow Sat 08-Dec-12 14:30:40

That may be true for you tiredemma and your ward is doing something right but what of those patients that are being failed? As a ward manager what is your perspective?

OpheliasWeepingWillow Sat 08-Dec-12 14:31:16

And to be honest the media is just reflecting my personal experience (consistent experience at that)

Welovecouscous Sat 08-Dec-12 14:35:14

Emma, that's not my take on it. But I think there is a lack of caring and professionalism creeping into the NHS.

This week I went to a clinic at a major teaching hospital - I asked a member of a staff a question and she didn't reply verbally, just took my form and handed it back with what I needed written down. She and another member of staff were busy gossiping about a "mad" patient who had sent them an Xmas card.

When I went for a blood test recently several members of staff were talking over me about the previous patient who'd complained about being hurt during a blood test.

I have been ill off and on during my life so have seen a lot of hospitals and I think this kind of thing is increasing.

tiredemma Sat 08-Dec-12 14:35:50

I really don't tolerate poor practice and the staff know it! For me I try to get the message across to my staff that we should always treat our ladies ( all female ward) as we would treat our own mothers.

I can't never stand anyone that would want to be a nurse and not care.

tiredemma Sat 08-Dec-12 14:36:50

* understand.

tiredemma Sat 08-Dec-12 14:37:30

Welove. That is disgusting. This frustrates me so much.

claig Sat 08-Dec-12 14:41:41

'For me I try to get the message across to my staff'

Well done, tiredemma. I think that is what is failing in some other wards. Management at all levels must instil and get this message across. The 'service' ethos must be second-nature and come above all else. It seems it has slipped in some cases.

The doctor who didn't introduce himself to Ann Clywd and who was arrogant and rude seems to dosplay a lack of 'service' ethos. However busy nurses and doctors are, they are all there to serve patients and they are not too important to show respect and common decency to every single patient.

jaffacake2 Sat 08-Dec-12 14:50:44

I trained as a nurse a long time ago when you learnt on the wards next to a senior nurse.Now the students spend more time in uni than patient contact.I dont know if this has changed how they deal with patients but certainately when my daughter was in for a large tumour the care was appalling. In the end I was there from 8am to 9pm to nurse her myself. She was 17 yrs old.

I put in an official complaint and had the usual of "overwork,shortage of staff"
But is wasnt because a trio would be laughing and chatting to each other round the central desk whilst buzzers were going unanswered
When I was a staff nurse I looked after a 32 bed ward with another nurse and 2 auxillaries. There seems to be lots of staff now but less done.

Welovecouscous Sat 08-Dec-12 14:54:33

Jaffa, that is exactly my experience - I think people feel they don't have to care any more sad so sorry to hear about your daughter

Emma the NHS has wonderful staff too - you sound like one and the mw who delivered my DS were amazing.

Abra1d Sat 08-Dec-12 14:55:26

My mother was a senior nurse before she retired. She often sits in wards with my elderly father and watches teams of nurses who seem to be completely unmanaged, unsure of which task to do in which order. It's hopeless in this particular hospital in SW London, just hopeless. She has to pin herself down to resist the urge to stand up and start managing them (which she was very good at).

TakeMyEyesButNotTheGoat Sun 09-Dec-12 10:33:20

Absolutely true about management (or lack of)

When the ward managers are on shift, everything usually runs smoothly.

When they are not, which is usually evenings, nights and weekends, the ward can descend into chaos.

Working in a hospital, your workload is unpredictable. Should you have an emergency on your hands (emergency covers many things, not just cardiac arrests) you need experienced staff to deal with it. How can a Qualified nurse deal with running a ward without the support of management if she has only been qualified for 2 years?

Trying to get hold of a senior nurse can be a nightmare. We need them on the ward's at all times. It just won't happen unfortunately.

Cozy9 Sun 09-Dec-12 11:24:09

I think they need to bring back matrons like in the old days. They used to run the wards with a rod of iron. Too many white collar management nowadays, and too many nice middle-class graduates who don't like getting their hands dirty!

scottishmummy Sun 09-Dec-12 11:27:54

that's just utter rot.good wards don't run in fear or rod of iron
they run well with good staff,good clinical rapport with mdt,and ability to deliver care
advocating work by fear isn't answer,and I think nurses as graduate profession is recognition of skills training they have

TakeMyEyesButNotTheGoat Sun 09-Dec-12 11:36:27

cozy a lot of management are clinically trained nurses btw.

Ward sisters are 'management'

Senior nurses are old style matrons.

HoleyGhost Sun 09-Dec-12 11:37:12

Being in hospital, treated with total contempt when at my most vulnerable, was the most stressful experience of my life.

Surely the lack of care and compassion hinders patient recovery? Surely evidence-based medicine should include a decent level of care?

TakeMyEyesButNotTheGoat Sun 09-Dec-12 11:48:44

I'm not going to defend all nurses by saying that we are overworked, hence why you have received poor treatment, lack of compassion and empathy etc...

Some nurses do lack a good bedside manner, they are human after all. Not everyone is nice.

Should they be working in the health profession? Probably not but it doesn't mean they are not good nurses in all other aspects. Some are on the ball with a patients medical needs even if they do lack decent manners.

Saying that though, I and many of my colleagues have been accused of lack of sympathy etc when that is not the case at all. Sometimes its because you've got a thousand and one things to think about while trying to physically see to too many people. It may come across that way when we are rushing around but its certainly not intentional.

A lot of assumptions are made.

iamabadger Sun 09-Dec-12 11:55:10

I'm not going to get into the ins and outs of problems in the nhs here-they do exist and I would never excuse that. But I read this article on mail online and all the comments slagged off nurses even though the article itself clearlly mentioned doctors. Nurses are really not the root of all evil within healthcare and feels like they are getting a total bashing at the moment.

TakeMyEyesButNotTheGoat Sun 09-Dec-12 11:59:55

Nurses always get the blame because they are frontline staff, they are the ones that are seen as having some sort of power and influence over how the system works.

Not the case at all. They have no power actually.

HoleyGhost Sun 09-Dec-12 12:13:00

What about nursing unions? Do they campaign for better working conditions?

IslaMann Sun 09-Dec-12 12:15:27

Im pissed off with the nurses taking the blame for bad care. I work all day without even a glass of water sometimes, no time for a toilet break, nothing to eat for hours on end. I never finish my shift at the correct time and rarely take meal breaks. My ward has lost 8 trained nurses in the past year, through retirement, redeployment or because the nurse has decided to leave the NHS. Not a single replacement has been recruited. As TakeMyEyes says, the nurses have no power, yet they're the ones who are verbally abused and physically assaulted.

TakeMyEyesButNotTheGoat Sun 09-Dec-12 12:29:25

Unions don't do much for us at all. They screwd us over with the agenda for change.

Do you know what our breaks are for a 12 1/2 hour shift are?

50 minutes. 50 fucking minutes for the whole day. No tea breaks inbetween. That's if you take them at all.

We've had health and saftey come many times over the years about the heat. It so hot that when you open the main ward door, the heat hits you like a brick wall. Has anything been done? Like fuck has it.

They won't pay for air conditioning but expect the staff to carry on working the whole day rushing around without a cup of ice cold water to cool you down as they took away our water coolers. They won't pay for them.

Unions have done fuck all for us.

TakeMyEyesButNotTheGoat Sun 09-Dec-12 12:32:03

Sorry for typos, on phone.

HoleyGhost Sun 09-Dec-12 12:33:29

No wonder nurses have compassion fatigue. Those conditions are brutal.

MrsjREwing Sun 09-Dec-12 12:43:53

I learned the hard way during pregnancy hospital stays, during a recent hospital stay I took an active part in my care, you are unwell and it shouldn't have to be that way.

TakeMyEyesButNotTheGoat Sun 09-Dec-12 12:46:49

A friend who's father was in hospital once started ranting and raving about the shit nurses because she had been trying to phone the ward to see how her father was but couldn't get through. She was saying she was going to put in a complaint.

I wiped the floor with her over that, did she expect a nurse to be always sat by the phone to answer a call instead of seeing to their patients?

As I said, assumptions are made all the time.

claig Sun 09-Dec-12 12:56:56

What happens when compaints go into hospitals. We read reports of people dying of dehydration, of a man phoning 999 to get a glass of water, of shocking treatment and care and yet it continues. Are people held responsible? Is management held responsible?

TakeMyEyesButNotTheGoat Sun 09-Dec-12 12:58:41

Forgot to add, that had she gone through with that complaint, the nurses would get the blame, something would have to change I.e everytime the phone rang the nurses would have to answer it no matter what they were doing to avoid another complaint. Or a stupid checklist or another piece of paperwork will be implemented.

Its ridiculous.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Sun 09-Dec-12 12:59:07

My son is a nurse, so I have a vested interest, but I still feel that they are being unfairly blamed for problems they have no control over.

DS works in a high dependency unit which is supposed to have a 1-1 ratio, but staff shortages mean that often isn't possible. I can see why people might think he's being uncaring if he has to leave them while he deals with someone even more severely ill, but he really isn't.

Nurses are an easy target, they have no power and can't openly speak out about the effect of staff cuts on the NHS. The anger people feel should be directed at politicians who make the decisions in the first place!

Rindercella Sun 09-Dec-12 12:59:51

Something has to be done. It just has to be.

My beautiful, wonderful, strong DH ended up terrified being in hospital when he was dying of cancer. He was terrified to be left alone, scared that the nurses responsible for his care would leave him for hours in his own faeces, even after he asked for their help. He was terrified that the next time a HCP tried to fit a cannula or take blood from him his arms would be left bloodied and bruised again. I remember one time, just after he had a catheter fitted. He screamed out with pain - I have never, ever seen such pain in anyone's face in my life - I buzzed for a nurse, ran to get some help. A nurse came, refused to listen to us, looked at the chart and buggered off. I went to get some more help - the catheter hadn't been fitted correctly and so when he tried to pass urine, it caused him immense pain. As soon as it was fixed, DH's pain vanished. The first nurse came back 15 minutes later with a shot of morphine. He felt my wrath that day. I was so fucking angry. All he had to do was listen to his patient. Surely a senior nurse should be capable of doing this?

These were just a few things that happened to DH when he was at his most vulnerable. Already racked with pain, with the cancer spreading through his body, he was caused further pain by the people who were supposed to give him comfort and relief from pain. Already scared beyond belief of the fact he was going to die, that he was going to leave his own children as he was left himself by his father at a young age (his Dad died of a heart attack at 34), he was scared further by people paid to look after him.

I am sure there are some fantastic nurses. What a shame non of them were employed on the oncology ward DH was on.

Nurses have no power? They have the power to show basic human compassion don't they? To give their patients the most basic levels of care? Poor you for not being able to grab a glass of water while working (really?). Poor patients who are dying in the most horrific way who are caused further pain and distress and who are shown absolutely no respect.

I could go on with the GP and consultants who treated DH. But I am feeling particularly crap about it all at the moment and just don't have the energy.

Thank God for hospices.

TakeMyEyesButNotTheGoat Sun 09-Dec-12 13:00:12

No just usually another piece of paperwork to cover everyones arses taking time away yet again from patient care.

CuriousMama Sun 09-Dec-12 13:00:54

We need more people like tiredemma.

There's often cries of bring back matrons but the best care I received was when admitted to a ward who had a sister just like a matron. She was hot on their heels and no slacking.

It's tragic. Something needs to change.

claig Sun 09-Dec-12 13:03:48

I am in favour of the NHS and not private hospitals. But what is going on? Are people in private hospitals getting better personal care and consideration than people who have paid taxes all their life and expect top-class treatment in public hospitals? Are there reports of people dying of dehydration in private hospitals? If not, then this is a national disgrace, and soemthing needs to be done about it. Management should be held responsible.

TakeMyEyesButNotTheGoat Sun 09-Dec-12 13:04:32

Sorry about your DH Rindercella. As I said upthread, not all nurses are compassionate.

Just don't tar us all with the same brush.

MrsjREwing Sun 09-Dec-12 13:06:18

After being encouraged on here I put in a complaint which changed protocol and rediclous lists hmm

My oxygen wasn't plugged into the wall when being transferred from recovery to ward, all full of anesthetic nurses didn't listen, so I rang my Mum who rang ward it was only then I got oxygen.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Sun 09-Dec-12 13:09:44

Claig Not sure if you do get better care in a private hospital. My fil had a knee replacement done privately a couple of years ago. Initially the treatment was very good, but when it became apparent that he wasn't recovering as quickly as expected and would have to stay longer - then he was made to feel like a bed blocker. Ended up going home too early and suffering problems that the NHS had to deal with.

Rindercella Sun 09-Dec-12 13:11:39

Claig, interestingly, DH spent a few days in the private ward at the oncology hospital and actually, the care was no better. He had his own room, so I was able to stay with him (even though I wasn't officially allowed to). On the NHS ward I was threatened with security if I didn't leave him at night. But on the private ward, the staff were equally as useless. They didn't know how to use a hoist to move him. They again could not seem to fit a cannula or take blood without causing him a huge amount of pain and distress. And they showed him no level of care or respect.

One nurse was assigned to him and if s/he wasn't available, it was tough. I remember going to the front desk and asking one of the nurses a generic question (actually just how the bill would be settled). She point blank refused to speak to me, telling me DH had his own nurse and I should only be speaking to her. My SIL remembers something similar - but far more dangerous - the nurse assigned to DH didn't know what to do with the blood he need. SIL went to talk to another nurse to tell her. Other nurse point blank told her that DH had his own nurse assigned and she would be doing the blood transfusion. My SIL (a former nurse) ended up sorting it all out herself.

It is absolutely fucking disgraceful.

claig Sun 09-Dec-12 13:12:21

Very moving post, Rindercella. This needs to bve top priority for all teh political schmoozers who meet press barons etc. instead of dealing with the care and treatment of the sick of this nation. They blow billions of our money on climate aid to foreign countries and neglect what is happening to our own ill. Disgraceful.

We need cameras on wards for a certain period of time in order to find out what is hapopening and why, and then we need urgent action to put it right. We pay billions in tax for public servants and pay 6 figure salaries to management and we expect them to treat ill-treatment of human beings as a serious matter.

Rindercella Sun 09-Dec-12 13:12:46

Oh, and I remember my father being treated in a private hospital. They were terrible.

Rindercella Sun 09-Dec-12 13:15:38

Takemyeyes, as I said - very clearly - in my post that I am sure some nurses are fantastic. So no tarring going on from me.

However, when DH was dying the level of care given was absolutely horrific. I can only speak from experience and I would not wish that level of care on anyone. Sadly, I have spoken to many people who have had similar experiences.

claig Sun 09-Dec-12 13:17:51

Saskia and Rindercella, I am surprised that even in private hospitals the treatment cannot be good too. It is disgraceful. How has it come to this? How have politicians allowed this decline to occur?

Rindercella Sun 09-Dec-12 13:18:30

I agree Claig, this really does have to be top priority. If we are unable to treat people who are reaching the end of their lives with kindness and compassion, it is a truly sad indicator of the nature of our society.

TakeMyEyesButNotTheGoat Sun 09-Dec-12 13:22:15

Some checklists ARE useful but not all. Its all very well increasing the amount of paperwork to make sure this and that are done, but without enough staff, it won't get done anyway.

The incident about the oxygen was a stupid and dangerous error made by the staff, and you did the right thing by complaing to make sure it doesn't happen again. Those kind of checklists are a useful tool but many are not.

As for not being allowed to stay overnight Rindercella, what were the reasons tbey gave?

We have never refused relatives of a terminally ill patient to stay if they are in a side room.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Sun 09-Dec-12 13:27:58

Claig I think in a private hospital you are getting what you pay for. If your condition requires more than that you will very quickly find that they care more about your ability to pay than your actual need for treatment.

I suppose the same is true with the NHS - if we want our hospitals to be run by caring, compassionate people who can give patients exactly the care they need we have to pay for it. And no, I don't think that necessarily means increasing the budget. Instead, they should look at the numbers of admin and management staff vs the staff who provide healthcare, do the cleaning etc. And we should be asking why, when cuts are made, is it the useful people who get laid off/aren't replaced, not the office dwellers.

To give an example: our local A&E now has three receptionists, but only one triage nurse.

claig Sun 09-Dec-12 13:28:38

Don't we have cameras in police stations so that it can be seen how the police handle people who are arrested. The police are trained to treat people with respect and they maintain good standards, and officers that fall short of their duty are disciplined.

I think that maybe we need cameras on wards so that poor treatment can be identified and dealt with.

Andy Burnham aid that his MP's postbag contains letters detailing poor care in hospitals.

This can't continue to be swept under the carpet. Someone needs to be held responsible for what is going on.

claig Sun 09-Dec-12 13:32:43

Agree with you Saskia.

Let's have some investigative documentaries of what is going on. Let's show the public the extent of it. Let's make it public, so that the politicians are forced to act and do whatever is necessary.

If that means reallocating public funds from areas that are less important, then that must be done.

Let's bring it to light, so that it can't be hidden in the shadows any longer.

TakeMyEyesButNotTheGoat Sun 09-Dec-12 13:36:21

Admin staff are needed though. Those 3 receptionists must be needed in a busy A&E. If they are not there who do you think will do the work?
It will have to be the nurses. Same with wards, receptionists are needed.

The nurses have their own paperwork that unqualified staff can't do.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Sun 09-Dec-12 13:51:29

I agree that admin staff are needed, but in this case they do not need three receptionists. And they aren't admin workers, they are simply receptionists, they answer the phone, point people in the direction x-ray, that kind of thing. The admin person has an office and there's only one of her.

Dromedary Sun 09-Dec-12 14:13:09

I had a very bad experience in hospital with a young DC. The nurses were frankly horrible - showed no interest at all in the sick DC and I was seriously bullied. They were clearly enjoying themselves. Hospital nurses have a great deal of power, and many of them appear to enjoy abusing it. Once that is the accepted culture, it's hard to backtrack.

BumgrapesofWrath Sun 09-Dec-12 14:15:52

Question for the people who work in the NHS. If you see a colleague behaving in an unprofessional way, do you take steps to ensure their behaviour is addressed?

I think one way to bring about change is for nurses etc to be held accountable by their peers.

tiredemma Sun 09-Dec-12 17:58:03

Bumgrapes blush absolutely. Challenge all bad practice, its just not tolerated. I tell my nurses to speak up and not be afraid to challenge anything that they know isn't right. If you send out the message that this is not only the ethos of our ward but also of our profession then it creates an understanding between the team that this is the ONLY way to work. Nursing is very stressful, no excuse for not treating someone with compassion and dignity though.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Sun 09-Dec-12 18:06:22

Unfortunately, people in the NHS who speak up often do not only get ignored, but mistreated. I know people who have built entire - and very prosperous - legal careers out of of representing unfairly dismissed NHS whistleblowers.

lyndie Sun 09-Dec-12 18:07:10

Survey after surgery shows 90-95% of people who have used the NHS in the last year rated care as satisfactory or very satisfactory, but when you read newspapers or Internet forums all you get is stories like the ones above. Not many of the 95% are talking about their experiences because there was nothing wrong with their care.

lyndie Sun 09-Dec-12 18:08:24

survey after survey

TakeMyEyesButNotTheGoat Sun 09-Dec-12 18:14:25

Many of the complaints that I've read, complaints about our ward or staff, are assumptions.

People assume we can't be bothered to toilet someone, assume we can't be bothered to feed someone etc.

Mistakes are made, they are dealt with to make sure they don't happen again. Staff have made complaints against other staff for poor nursing practices.

Its not our fault if those bad nurses are still allowed to work the wards. We just try to carry on and pick up the pieces.

Rindercella Sun 09-Dec-12 19:26:07

From the patients' perspective, many of the experiences I have heard of or lived through have been due to nursing staff not taking the time to listen to their patients.

Why do people who are suffering so badly, at the end of their lives, have to give up so much because nursing professionals can show them neither dignity nor respect?

MrsjREwing Sun 09-Dec-12 21:33:19

I made a complaint, I would put on survey that my care was above satisfactory, it was apart from a few things, one being oxygen not attached to wall.

claig Sun 09-Dec-12 22:08:39

Well done for making a complaint, MrsjREwing. Many people who are not satisfied don't go through with actually making a complaint, but that doesn't mean that the care was satisfactory.

MPs post bags contain complaints and have done for ages and it is time that this was looked at very seriously.

There was a nursing union official, I think, on TV today and he said that 92% of people surveyed were satisfied. But 8% is much too large a figure and of those surveyed how many were for minor conditions.

Do a survey of teh elderly and the dying and then quote the figure.

It is the system and management that are at fault. They need to turn things around and they need to do so urgently.

Ann Clywd has said she will campaign and may God help her in every way. The people need someone to speak up on their behalf.

EdgarAllanPond Mon 10-Dec-12 22:28:28

agree management at fault.

accountability seemed to me to be lacking. that didn't matter for the staff who did their job well for the sake of doing it well, but every profession has card-punchers, and for them there need to be checks - and also rewards for those doing well.

if no one checks, no one gets thanked, or held to account.

that isn't 'management by fear' - that is normal good management practice. good communication also is promoted by such checks and handovers..

Finallygotaroundtoit Mon 10-Dec-12 23:08:02

I'm sorry that she felt there was a lack of care and compassion but one commentator picked up that the MP seemed to expect a nurse to come and wipe her husband's eye, moisten his lips and give him a drink - when she was sitting there and capable of doing it.

If nurses are stretched they perhaps prioritise people who don't have a visitor.

She also had expectations of doctors being present on the ward most of the time and being around to talk to relatives daily - there just isn't the time

claig Mon 10-Dec-12 23:12:38

What commentator was that? What idiot says such things? She noticed what happened when she was present. Imagine what happened when she wasn't present?

Shame on that commentator. He or she should learn some basic human compassion and put themselves in her position and that of her husband.

Absolute disgrace.

claig Mon 10-Dec-12 23:16:12

'She also had expectations of doctors being present on the ward most of the time and being around to talk to relatives daily'

If a person is dying, it is not too much to be kept informed by a doctor. If teh doctor can't be present, then they should inform a nurse and ask teh nurse to update teh patient's loved ones.

No excuses for this shocking treatment, and shame on the 'commentator'!

Finallygotaroundtoit Mon 10-Dec-12 23:20:06

What I'm trying to say is if you're sitting in front of someone who needs a drink why not give them one instead of expecting a nurse (who as some posters have said may not even have time for a loo break) to come and do it?

Angelico Mon 10-Dec-12 23:27:32

These stories make me angry beyond words. What frustrates me is that everyone feels angry but no one seems to know where to begin when it comes to tackling the problem. The only way I can see is for people to complain and sue until it costs hospitals more to pay out compensation than it does to adequately staff wards. Perhaps then they'll see it as cost-saving to pay for proper patient care.

But staff do have to accept some of the blame. I've seen it myself in hospitals - nursing staff hanging out at reception having a good laugh while patients wait for medication and assistance. Everyone wants medical staff to enjoy their job - but not at the expense of patient discomfort.

claig Mon 10-Dec-12 23:28:48

Of course she gave him a drink, but that is a job that nurses should be doing. We all pay our taxes to be looked after in hospitals and we all expect nurses to check up on the needs of all patients.

She asked nurses to come over and help, she asked for a less tight oxygen mask, she asked for cover for her husband's feet and she got nothing in return, they said they were "busy", and they said "in aminute" and they did nothing. She said her husband was treated like a battery hen. She said she felt like burning the hospital down.

Disgusting disgrace in our country. Fire the management and warn everybody that there will be legal consequences if this kind of poor treatment is discovered again.

Get it understood that teh patient comes first. Absolutely no excuse for this disgrace in our country.

claig Mon 10-Dec-12 23:35:14

'who as some posters have said may not even have time for a loo break'

These nurses had time for a loo break alright, but not for basic patient care.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 10-Dec-12 23:49:43

>Survey after surgery shows 90-95% of people who have used the NHS in the last year rated care as satisfactory or very satisfactory, but when you read newspapers or Internet forums all you get is stories like the ones above. Not many of the 95% are talking about their experiences because there was nothing wrong with their care.

That may be the case - but a 5-10% failure rate is not acceptable.

I heard Ann Clywd on R4 a few days ago - it amazed me that she couldn't get satisfactory care for her dying husband - I don't mean by pulling rank as an MP but as a woman assertive and able enough to be elected, if she had problems how many others must?

Part of the issue must be staffing levels - or the wrong mix of staffing, especially on geriatric wards. MIL died recently, in and out between hospital and nursing home till we realised how much better the latter could look after her. They had enough domestic staff to keep everything clean, enough nursing staff to deal with medical issues and loads of 'carers'. Who did what it said on the tin.

SueDoku Mon 10-Dec-12 23:57:57

'What I'm trying to say is if you're sitting in front of someone who needs a drink why not give them one instead of expecting a nurse (who as some posters have said may not even have time for a loo break) to come and do it?'

Quite. My daughter is a nurse, and a patient's daughter recently screamed at her in the middle of the ward because her mother had been waiting for a drink for 30 mins - my daughter asked which of the two patients who had gone into cardiac arrest (and on whom all the available nurses had been doing CPR) she would have preferred to have been allowed to die so that her mother could have a drink... Priorities have to be decided - and treating a patient in cardiac arrest is at the top - especially when other patients have an able-bodied person with them who can attend to minor needs such as a drink of water. Can you imagine the headlines if one of those cardiac patients had been allowed to die while a nurse fetched a glass of water?

EdnaScoggins Mon 10-Dec-12 23:59:20

I think that instead of any kind of attempt at good customer care, there is a culture of contempt for the "client/customer", which in this case is an ill person, sometimes a very ill one.

I have had countless personal experiences of this. I agree with posts above about how common it is to encounter nurses bitching and laughing about one patient over the ill body of another patient. And I have experienced nurses bitching about another nurse as they wheeled me into surgery. Not very encouraging.

Ann Clywd's story is heartbreaking.

EdnaScoggins Tue 11-Dec-12 00:02:54

I think also it often comes down to lack of respect for human life. People are seen as no more than objects.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 00:17:41

'my daughter asked which of the two patients who had gone into cardiac arrest'

Have you read the disgusting treatment that Ann Clywd's husband received?
There was no 'heart attack' in the hours and hours she sat by her husband's side. This is what happened, in case you have not read it

'‘I saw a nurse in the corridor and asked her why my husband wasn’t in intensive care. She just said, “There are lots worse than him”, and walked on.'

Contempt for the public and we are paying for this contempt. Root out those who are not fit to treat patients and loved ones with respect and train new nurses who are fit for teh job.

‘There was no one observing him. You ask yourself: “Where is everyone? Where are the nurses? Why is no one doing anything?”

Where were they? Were there heart attacks all this while? Of course not.

'But a basic element of good care was missing: compassion.'

'She recalls: ‘Every time I tried to talk to one of the nurses, they were either on the phone or talking to one another.'

What were they talking about, heart attacks?

‘Whenever I asked when we’d see someone, the answer was always: “In a minute.” There was busy-ness, laughter, joking … but nobody addressed our concerns.'

'All this time, I hadn’t been offered a chair or a word of explanation. I’d expected at least some reassurance. But it was as if the nurses were in their little world. There was a feeling of total isolation’

This disgrace is happening all over teh country. This disgrace has been allowed to happen. This disgrace has happened because these nurses feel they are too important to treat patients with respect. Management has allowed this practice to continue. They feel no fear or rebuke, they could ignore Ann Clywd without any worry about their jobs. They have been allowed to get away with it due to management failure and management neglect, and politicians haven't stamped it out.

Ann Clywd will campaign on it and she is speaking for thousands of others who have received similar treatment and who have been ignored and disrespected by those who think that the British public are too unimportant to count.

It can't continue, someone will eventually sort it out.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 00:25:00

Week in, week out we read about elderly people dying of dehydration in wards, and even of one poor young man who was so desperate for a glas sof water that he dialled 999.

If animals were treated like this, the perpetrators would be locked up.

Start prosecuting people for failure to care for patients. That will stamp it out in days.

EdnaScoggins Tue 11-Dec-12 10:21:59

You are right about the animals, claig.

EdgarAllanPond Tue 11-Dec-12 13:57:40


I think one way to bring about change is for nurses etc to be held accountable by their peers."

exactly this bumgrapes - culture of accountability, communication and reward.

i have no problems with people who have done wrong being pulled up on it - why should anyone? and also those that provide excellent care should be acknowledged.

and i can tell the difference between a busy nurse - batting back and forth between patients - and one who doesn't care. i saw alot of busy nurses doing their best and a few who really didn't give a toss. maybe if those few had been doing their share the others wouldn't have been so rushed.

Rindercella Tue 11-Dec-12 17:25:16

That young man died didn't he Claig? He was so desperate for a glass of water, he phones 999 as the nursing staff won't help him. And then he dies of dehydration.

What I see from this thread is hcp trying to defend the indefensible. Which makes it worse in my eyes. Just saying, oh sorry about that when hearing of someone's death is not enough you then go on to say, but it's okay because according to a survey 90% of patients are 'satisfied' with their treatment.

Some nursing staff are brilliant. Some others are not. My sil, a former nurse, was absolutely horrified by the treatment she saw of terminally ill patients. No compassion, little knowledge and no care. Just what are they being paid for if they cannot offer all of those things?

I met a woman recently, coincidentally a nurse, whose mother died of cancer three years ago. She was in tears when she recounted how her mother had lost the ability to swallow. A nurse came along and gave her a pill. To swallow. And then left her. This woman came back to her mother's bed and saw her mother choking, unable to swallow and unable to breathe as her airways were blocked by a tablet. She called for nurses, pressed the buzzer and then had to perform the Heimlich maneuver on her mother as no-one came - she could see several of them at the nurses' station, doing nothing. She didn't dare leave her alone after that. As I said, three years later she was racked with sobs while telling me this story.

Eggy, absolutely agree with you on the accountability issue.

EdgarAllanPond Tue 11-Dec-12 17:46:46

that was at the same hospital DS1 died at though a year earlier. i wasn't surprised. evidently management do have a wider problem.

MadSleighLady Tue 11-Dec-12 17:57:52

Oh god, I didn't realise the dehydration thing was a known national problem. It happens to my nan every time she goes in for something like a fall. sad

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 18:34:30

Yes, Rindercella, he later died of dehydration. He was just 22 years old.

You are right that there can be absolutely no excuse for this. It is shameful.

We keep reading stories like this and hoping that someone will do something, and nothing seems to be done, it just seems to get worse and worse.

It seesm that people are turning the other way while this happens in our faces.

At Prime Minister's Question Time, you get some questions like "would the Prime Minister join me in praise of teh excellent work done by the lollipop lady in my constituency" and meanwhile people are being left without medication and without water and are dying in our public hospitals.

Enough is enough. No excuses. Something must be done to stop people being treated in such a disgraceful way.

NulliusInBlurba Tue 11-Dec-12 18:51:23

Nursing care within the same hospital can be stunningly good or cruelly inhumane, and it seems to be as much down to the prevailing attitude on a ward as the resources available.

My mum was critically ill this summer (and has since died), and spent two months in hospital, in fact two different hospitals and six wards. One of the two hospitals was the one where Ann Clwyd's husband died, and that was the better of the two. sad

ICU and HDU were obviously superb, but then they had a care ratio of 1 to 1 and 1 to 2. The general ward she was on was clearly understaffed, but the nurses (and one doctor in particular) there were largely compassionate and willing to do their best. The really awful inhumane care was in the general cardiac ward. Due to her condition, my mother had dressings on her leg that needed changing regularly - let's just say there was an enormous amount of liquid coming from them (sorry TMI). The staff were really unbothered about changing them, and left my mother for many many hours laying in wet bandages - the liquid had soaked through her clothes and dressing slippers, so she was lying in the wet. Any time we asked for them to be changed we were told they were too busy, but staff had enough time to collect at the nurses' station and joke around, or indulge in small talk with other patients. This situation went on for several days, and it was clear that lying with smelly wet bandages was not good for an elderly cardiac patient, so I asked the ward sister why this was happening, who accused me of bullying behaviour and said I'd been abusive to her. I found out later from a social worker that this is her standard tactic for dealing with complaints and she has a real reputation for generally not being a very nice person. Oh, and the ward sister said she would get the bandages changed every four hours, but dismally failed to do so - if anything, they were changed even less than usual, and that nurse was subsequently quite unpleasant to my mum. These were some of her last weeks alive, but it was made so much worse by that bitch of a nurse who really just enjoyed power tripping elderly patients.

The hospital where AC's husband was, the Heath in Cardiff, wasn't cruel, but it was massively incompetent. When my mum was transferred back from there to her original hospital she turned up with no paperwork. I was talking to one of her doctors at the original hospital, having previously spoken to a surgeon at the Heath, and the doctor was relying on me to give him all the necessary medical information! The conversation went along these lines:
Him: So the doctor said they would be recommending medical management rather than surgical intervention?
Me: Yes, I think that's what was said.
Him: Did he say what medications would be best?
Me: erm...

After my mum died I bought three box of chocolates and gave them to the staff on the three wards where she had been treated well, as thanks for their compassion. Needless to say, the cardiac ward got nothing!

I'm also in the middle of an official NHS complaint about the fact that an OOH doctor refused to attend my mother at home, which compounded the severe infection she had developed by delaying her treatment for a whole day. It quite possibly contributed towards her death. We rejected the findings of the first enquiry because they contained outright lies (at one point stating that her condition had improved and she was sent home, when actually her condition had deteriorated and she was sent to another hospital). We're still waiting for the findings of the second enquiry.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 19:19:35

'if anything, they were changed even less than usual, and that nurse was subsequently quite unpleasant to my mum'

This is how people are bullied by these bullies not to complain in case the treatment gets any worse than it already is.

Good luck with teh complaint process, keep strong and don't be put off by the obstacles they throw in your path. The more we complain and end our silence through fear of making things worse or through no hope in change, the sooner someonme in power will actually do something to stand up for people against a powerful system that mistreats them.

HelpOneAnother Tue 11-Dec-12 20:06:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dromedary Tue 11-Dec-12 21:46:19

I mentioned that I'd had a very bad experience at hospital with my DC, through really nasty bullying behaviour by a group of nurses. I put in a complaint, which was met by sneers, essentially. The matron in charge of the department very grudgingly acknowledged that the nurses had broken a clear rule about how to treat patients, but simply said that that was not her fault as they had been told what the rule was (no apology, or suggestion that the nurses would be disciplined or re-trained).
Anyway, a long time afterwards I was at a social occasion and mentioned to someone that I had had a bad experience with some nurses at the hospital. The man next to me then announced that he was the person in charge of half the hospital, and that the nurses were all excellent. He didn't ask what the problem had been, simply immediately dismissed that there could have been any problem.
Then went on at length about his extremely high salary and how important it was that it shouldn't be reduced in the cuts...
If the managers won't even conceive of the possibility of there being any problem with their nurses, then what hope for change is there?

renaldo Wed 12-Dec-12 10:58:07

And these so called satisfaction surveys are so bogus
I asked for a feedback form at my last OPD appointment - Ii could see other patients handing them in, and wasny given one . I had been waiting over an hour, my notes had been lost and I clearly wast happy so I was'nt given a form!

picketywick Sat 15-Dec-12 12:05:24

Nurses do have different personalities as you would expect. I suspect the training has been HANDS OFF in recent years.

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