and also NHS staff are struggling to cope re A&E (and day-to day nursing) because of understaffing:
The chemotherapy/oncology outpatients dept I attended was understaffed and though the nurses were always kind and professional
they were also always rushed off their feet.
As an patient in A&E I saw it was (just about controlled) chaos.
I was so very glad I had a relative with me to comfort me & to maintain staff contact during that long period of time.
On the ward again staff were very busy all the time.
Sometimes the patient would ring their 'Nurse Help Please' bell
and it would be 20 minutes or more before that help came.
Sometimes patients could not actually reach their bell for help (or were too ill & confused to know re this)
& I (or another patient -seeing the problem) rang on their behalf.
Maintenance was a big problem.
Two of the 5 beds in the ward had problems with sides working properly (either in their sides staying up or sticking down
& it not possible to be pulled up).
This might sound a minor thing but without bed sides reliably staying pulled up the vulnerable patient could fall out of bed .
Also, if the sides will not go back down, it means eg a patient desperate to use the commode cannot reach it in time.
One patient had to have a new bed because her bed was stuck in an upright position.
It just would not go flat in order for her to lie down and sleep.
The lifts were a nightmare as one had broken down (before Christmas)and there were queues of people including patients in wheelchairs or on trollies. I was told by a porter the lift had been mended but it broke down again less than a week after being 'mended'.
The loo and shower in my ward (wet room) was in dire need of refurbishment- the smell was as if some animal had died in there and was rotting.
After many complaints re the room the plumber came once in my week's stay to use the plunger on the wash basin.
That improved the smell for half a day. Then it returned as strong as ever again.
The shower heating and water supply in there was unreliable. I would have loved a shower as I recovered enough to have one
but because of these problems and because there was no nurse or nursing assistance available to help me/ keep an eye on me I could not do that.
This shortage of nurses meant patients were not really prepared for returning home safely.
If the patient was not safe to eg go to loo without assistance and went home to a situation living on their own they could end up falling & being re-admitted.
This had happened to one patient, her healing leg was further damaged when she fell and she was re-admitted (in agony).
Pain relief , for me personally , was quite good.
However, again because of understaffing, I saw some fellow patients were left too long without decent painkillers.
There is no excuse, I think, for eg terminally ill or very sick patients to be in pain for any length of time.
This is a complicated problem and not easily solved but I think certainly not enough is being spent on NHS and on care after direct
nursing/medical help is needed at the convalescence/ rehabilitation / physiotherapy stage afterwards.
The 'care' part of recovery is a problem, many patients not requiring nursing as such were ready to be discharged to eg
temporary nursing home for rehabilitation/ physio but there was nowhere suitable with vacancies for them to go to.
Will write more re GFD in this hospital- on Supp - and put a link to it on here.