Delighted re Stafford enquiry

Such a shame it has taken patient death to spur this enquiry but it is so good that the government is now taking seriously patient care and the quality of this care. Taking more equality between targets were put ahead of patient care. Nurses in my day wanted to nurse, since academia took over I saw a difference in the patient care, I am so glad this again will be a priority. I have seen in the last few weeks nurses being patronising and rough with my mother in law who now suffers dementia, this is not acceptable. I do also agree that health care assistants should also be trained and very accountable as well,as the other staff should be accountable for their own treatment of patients. The levels of care absolutely be the priority.

I applaud the relatives who fought for this enquiry and the staff who whistleblower and spoke up. After all this affects all of us RA patients equally. I hope in the next few years to see a massive improvement in patient care and staffing numbers increased. Do you agree with me.

32 Replies

  • I fear that other hospitals have been almost as bad as Staffordshire. I had a dreadful experience a year ago. But I was able to complain through the PALS system when I escaped.

    My poor Mother had a terrible time at a different hospital.

    I do hope that Mr Cameron's words create action, and not just more counting and box ticking. But I do wonder whether there are the funds available for the service we feel we need.

    I think we all need to be prepared to make a fuss when things are not as they should be. It is the only way to change things for the better.

  • Up to a point allanah. I dont think we should idealise the past. I remember my mum going to the Bath hospital for rheumatic diseases and the discipline (patients and staff alike) was draconian. The treatment was basic, she wasnt allowed out of the hospital for nearly a month. I was in hospital with appendicitis aged about 8 and was put in an adult ward. I wouldnt have survived if my parents hadnt come in to help me to eat. I worked for several summers in the records department of the local (modern) hospital. They didnt have a system for administrative records - I set it up! This was in the 1960s. My sister was a district nurse and fought an exhausting battle to be allowed to remove heavy tights in the heat of the summer. This didnt help her delivering good care - she was subject to a disciplinary for going into peoples houses with bare legs! So lets beware of rosetinted spectacles about the past.

    I think there are several things which have contributed to the most recent events.

    One is that we are less prepared to put up with things which people experienced in the past. More inclined to complain. Another reason is a legacy from the past, the hierarchy and the way in which people were not able to challenge incompetent people higher up in the hierarchy than themselves. And I think that the target based culture implemented by bureaucrats cant help.

    I agree, Allanah that there are obviously bad examples and too much abuse. We should complain and demand information as much as we can - so that the service can be improved for everyone. But I also want to say that we should value what we have - while we insist that its improved. Since I've been visiting doctors and hospitals I've had some bad experiences, but also some first rate ones. Where I am now the nurses are brilliant, they are often gatekeepers and help you to access what you need. that's where I see the caring coming through, with just small acts of consideration and kindness.

    So its a mixed response. But the relatives who set up the 'cure the NHS' organisation and have been driving this through are brilliant.

  • I agree with Allanah,it has been on our local news a lot because stafford is not far from us. People shouldn't be treated like that,animals are treated better. If nurses stopped trying to be drs and just be nurses the i think things will get back to proper patient care. Also bring back matron......

  • It won't make any difference having matrons back as they will still be accountable to a board of directors who often have no clinical experience or knowledge. Those who do are out of date with the reality of today's nursing. Matrons were bought back recently but the reality was they just renamed the existing senior nurses. Target based care will never equal good holistic care. Nurses need to learn to nurse. That can only be done by extensive and varied ward based learning.

  • I do agree with you Allanah but as Cathie says - to an extent and not to cast a cozy glow over things from previous eras. My dad had a hernia op in a famous west London hospital in the mid 80s and the room he was in was so filthy that my partner and I were phoned by him and asked to bring wet wipes please because he couldn't bear looking at all the mess! And this from a man of a certain age who really didn't care much about personal hygene. We got through the whole packet and as we left there were homeless people sitting parked outside the lift lobby with begging bowls. Thatcher's Britain at it's saddest really.

    What I don't understand is how it's taken so long for a government to appoint a chief inspector of hospitals? Surely this is fundamental and we've had the equivalent for prisons and schools, and children's care centres - and the same goes for old folks homes too. Anywhere that accommodates and cares for vulnerable people should be regularly inspected.

    My OH is very well qualified as a care worker (HNC in social care for the elderly and children plus SVQ 3 in both also) but if he worked anywhere else he'd be on a very low wage so we can't afford to move or for him to ever seek a change in contract. In care homes across Scotland there are huge issues with paperwork and matters such as the distribution of pads in because they are rationed - which means that sometimes people are left in soaking wet pads despite sores and things just because their personal pad allowance hasn't been authorised or prioritised - and this is with a health and care partnership going on. Too much bureaucracy and a lack of regard for those working on the ground is one of the main problems in all these places but I don't think it's got significantly worse - it was just never remotely good enough to begin with!

  • This is no excuse for a second rate service, but I remember when it was the anniversary of the establishment of the NHS seeing a programme about what things were like in the first months. Lots of women with prolapses would come - conditions that barely exist any more.

    I'm not sure about this central person - what is needed is better local accountability perhaps coordinated from the centre. We should each have our own private website we could access so we can see correspondence about us, our blood results etc. and anyone who is vulnerable in any special way - like the very elderly - should have a special person who would be responsible for overseeing their welfare. They could liaise with family - or substitute for them if there is no family. Proper funding has to be central - and money spent on pateint care. I remember when my partner worked at the Public Health Agency and when the HIV-Aids money came through they built this fantastic new building and noone knew what to do with the money.

  • A "Rate Our Hospital" sort of thing, like they have with teachers perhaps? I wouldn't underrate a good inspection team though. My dad used to inspect prisons and he always said the first thing to do is to have a really good exhale before walking into the main building and then take a good deep sniff. He also said that getting rid of staff was essential and sitting down with an inmate in the privacy of their cell was too. Imagine how this would empower a patient if they had someone coming in and sitting by your hospital bed with no one else standing over - asking them to relay their experience first hand?

    I think people who regularly inspect schools and prisons build up a lot of experience and learn to trust well honed gut instincts as to when they are being fobbed off or cleaned up for. Mind you at a school inspection 18 months ago in our local secondary they missed everything that mattered and the report was a complete whitewash. I complained about it to our MP who is also a parent and he emailed me back saying "Ye Gads what a mess?" so you might be right.

    Accountability can come in many forms though and we need it in all forms possible for hospitals. Hopefully the Stafford report will make a big difference to this now.


  • Yes the best question the prime minister suggested was to hospital staff " would you be happy for your family to be admitted to your hospital" and shockingly only 20 per cent said they would, that's 80per cent would not like it....awful. And I complained about being taken off the hospital trolley on the way to the hospital operating theatre and just got a standard, we didn't have enough beds reply and that's from the chief executive, again no compassion for the patient at the centre of the care!

  • Things like Patients forums (or fora) where you can pitch in comments - as well as inspectors. And out-patient services need proper monitoring too dont they! Its an opportunity but unfortunately with the cuts we will have to keep pushing I think!

  • Well Allana, you have opened up a full discussion on this. My experiences of hospital stays are in the late 70's and early 80's and then in 2000, all at the same hospital and same type of ward (gyny), and the changes were amazing! In the 70/80 they had the state registered nurses plus the nurses who were qualified but not to the standard of SRN, can't remember the names, plus you had your juniors. The wards had their own cleaners who came each morning and thoroughly cleaned the wards and bathrooms, gave out tea and coffee and helped with the meal runs. THe place run like clockwork and was very clean and tidy, the nurses had time to speak to you for a full 15 minutes, and gave you lovely bed baths.

    Roll forward to 2000, went into same hospital, gone are the nurses except the SRN or student nurses. The cleaning is done by contractors, if someone spills anything the nurses are not allowed to clean it up, ward cleaning was look and turn around and walk out type of cleaning, bathrooms were not cleaned each day. The nurses only spent a cursory nod to you and treatment was over and done with quickly no let up for speaking to you nor allaying any fears. Tea and coffee from machines which you fetched yourself from the hallway. If you were bedridden your roommate would fetch one for you or your visitor if you were lucky enough to have one. Nurses appeared to be ensconced at the nurses station the whole time pen pushing or making phone calls.

    So I would say that the experience that I had from these different decades that I would say return to those days. Even if its bring back the in-house cleaners who took care of specific areas and took pride in our their ward looked. If the look and feel of the hospital is clean and tidy, then the rest will fall into place. As women we all know that if our homes are untidy and certain areas are dirty, then the place appears to be in a mess and all around falls apart, whereas a clean place is one of calm.

    For those of you who are currently nurses, I do appreciate the hard job that you do and the pressures you are under, but something has to change for you, as well as us the patients.

  • That was my experience too Georje. I did complain to my seniors a lot!

  • Yes I agree whith your points but I don't think I have an outdated vision of my previous training as I only stopped work a year ago. It was a reality that nursing care went down when he amount of time trainig on he wrds was reduced and even more infortunatle when h cleaning staff were taken out of the matrons hand the wards were less clean.

    It was so much easier making sure your patients were bein cared for on a nightingale ward compared to cubicles areas. You could see if someone was about to fall out the bed or didn't have a drink and the sister could watch the care quality. I know the cubicles for privacy but not ideal in real terms. I think hospital inspections and looking at patient complaints and acting on them is crucial.a lot of people do not have family so the link between hospital and community would also be inspected.

    Bu I do think the major issue of lack of compassion and disinterest in cleaning bottoms and feeding patients was becoming an issue and needs to be tackled . I am not thinking we should go back to disciplinarian times but for me there is too much standing around the nurses station an not enough talking to patients. The best place I have seen this was my admission to an army hospital, where we got sleep as the nurses were put on suspension if they talked during the night! This was great for the patient as it was quiet. The total opposite of the giggling nurses I was subjected to after my spinal op where I got no sleep.

    I totally agree with the prime minister that standards, compassion need to improve and that it should not be "normal" that hospital acquired infection and bed sores are acceptable. Bring back bed rounds! And if that makes me old fashioned then I am! Watch this space, these things will be brought back in I think lol :)

  • Aaaaaa, predictive text, hope u got the jist of the above!

  • I think it's probably a case of skipping the late 80s then and going further back to the 1970s from what you are saying about nursing and cleanliness. Thankfully my only experience of being in hospital have been once when was about 11 and I had a suspect appendicitis and was in Charring Cross for 2 nights. I remember it being noisy at night with a screaming kid in the next bed and not being allowed to eat. Then there were the births of my three sons in the local maternity unit up here and that was great but youngest is shortly to turn 16 so that was a long time ago. Then a week with one of my sons in the old Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital - the care and nursing was great - the environment for parents was pretty dire though but the new children's hospital is fab.

    I have spent quite a lot of time visiting our small hospital though and the staff are very demoralised presently. A new hospital is in the planning stages here - it will be a health and care campus not just a hospital. It should be a lot better for the staff and patients - but nothing compensates for kindness and cleanliness of course. And if the management are only focused on finance and cutbacks then that makes a huge negative impact of course. All the subcontracting of cleaning and food is such a problem it seems. Tilda x

  • Lol, actually I was nursing in the late seventies too lol!! Omg old. Hope the new hospital campus is a success , the have a real chance to get things right don't they , its a shame the staff are demoralised too much paperwork, too little time for patient carexx

  • two senior clinical staff have gone to local bbc radio ( names with held for fear of reprisals)and press re the care of patients a specific example stroke patient being left to starve to death and recent inspection gave 2 red status warnings one being paedatric care and work place bullying at my nhs trust hospital

  • I think now the enquiry has been aired more instances will come forward and the workplace bullying at your work? Maybe its a good time to tell the management of your treatment ! Xxxx

  • I haven't read the other comments which I usually do, but I have to agree that there have been many changes over the past twenty odd years and not all for the good.

    The nearest big hospital to us, had a very bad name a few years ago, but I'm very pleased to say that it has improved greatly and I have nothing but praise the staff and hospital as a whole.

    My husband has been in and out of hospital so many times during the past couple of years that I've lost count, but he has always been treated and looked after very well. The level of cleanliness is now 100% in my view. Of course the level of staffing has reduced a bit, but a doctor chatted away while he was trying to get a needle into my husband's wrist on one occassion and he told us that the hospital board decided to cut down on management positions before cutting front line staff at that time. It was good to hear.

    Matrons used to keep standards high, didn't they. tThey disappeared, only to be reinstated in some hospitals under a different title. I remember well, when there were state Registered nurses and State enrolled nurses and it was usually the latter who did the hands on nursing whilst the former performed the more responbible duties. Did that structure not work well ?

  • I thought it did work but they felt there was not enough differentiation in the roles so enrolled nurses retrained to registered nurses.

    I am not saying that everything is worse, and some things are a Lot better but when patients can die from lack of food or drink and are found drinking from flower vases when I happened, there is something wrong!,,

  • Could it also be that patients have changed too? This sounds old fashioned as well but there's more drinking and drug taking now, people can be very rude and aggressive with little come back. And people are less deferential to nurses and doctors so a busy a&e can be a pretty lousy place to work I imagine - our little hospital is no exception to this either. A friend who's daughter is a newly qualified nurse, told me that she would work anywhere but up here because of all the abuse nurses get on Friday and Saturday nights here and the demoralised staff situation is very bad. Doctors and nurses have blown whistles here too but its impossible for them to remain nameless without making too much extra speculation and tension. I'm sure if this applies here it must be a lot worse in the big city hospitals.

  • I agree with that, society as a whole are less respectful to doctors police etc, now I am sounding old!

  • They should lock us old farts up eh Allanah - but I know we are right about everything! Hey while I've got you on here please can you advise on whether pain killers or NSAIDs are more effective for back pain apparently caused by OA? I plan to see GP and ask him tomorrow if its this bad tomorrow morning but I need to take stuff tonight. Just been to first puppy training with Ruby and it was hellish bending down all the time - I'm totally done for!

  • Oh no! U do need to ask the drs,,,,,,as Sarah said. Xxxxxx

    what I was told in the living with arthritis course I have just done is they work very differently. NSAIDs dampen down inflammation thus it helps the pain. Painkillers do what they say on the tin they help the pain, that was from the consultant Rheumy's session.

    Hope you feel better tomorrow, have you tried a warm bath or heat pad too in case you have overused your muscles with the puppy , hope u feel better soon xxxx

  • Thanks A you're a star. Just out of a nice hot shower - too much pain to bend onto the bath! Tried to delete my post bit too late you've responded! I just know you are the woman to ask about backs and what's most effective but should have just used common sense. I think you are right about keeping on top of the pain while its like this. Think I'm having a mild flare actually because everything is aching in that RA way and I feel rubbish. Basically I'm fighting something off just now as I'm also tired beyond what's normal for me.

    Sorry Sarah Kate don't bo**ock me I know I'm a naughty girl but I'm too tired and in pain to even think straight tonight! But I am only taking drugs I've got on prescription for flare ups anyway and would always follow dosage instructions. Tilda xxx

  • Oh bless Tilda, it's awful when u r sore and it's 11 pm, so next time you doubt you have ra .......... lol

    hope you feel better very soon and sending you hugs xxxxxxxxx

  • Hmmm well apparently the back thing is OA degeneration so still suspicious - but OA wouldn't make tendons very painful, hot and swollen so I re read my pain diary of 2011-12 and realised that this is definitely inflammatory and probably is RA as oppose to PsA. Who cares - it all hurts a bit just now so I'm back on the pain meds! X

  • Hi Tilda, you may have tried this already but if not - the yoga cat pose is supposedly very good for back pain. There are examples on youTube, sorry can't work out how to do the link. Several people in my yoga class have found it helpful.

    Hope the meds work anyway.

  • Thanks - I remember that from maternity days and will try it. Its on my Wii yoga too I think! X

  • real busy t but hope the pain is better todayxxxxx

  • The price we pay to live as near normal a life as possible !! I hope you don't have a bad night tonight Tilda. Anyway, Someone wrote on this blog theme about being kept awake at night by noisy nurses, which rekindled a very early memory for me.

    I was just 13yrs old when I had an accident in the gym at school, I broke my elbow and dislocated my shoulder and I was kept in hospital to have a minor op. Well, I was woken up in the middle of the night by some noisy laughter and when I opened my eyes I saw a nurse sitting on a doctor's lap and it was my first insight into hanky panky, ( he must have been a doctor because he had a white coat on). It has stayed there in my little brain all these years just waiting for the right bit of conversation to wake it up !!

    P.S. I've got my appointment with Rheumy Doc tomorrow, so have my list ready ! I'll write a blog to let you know how I get on concerning high Das score. Lots of hugs to all xx

  • hope it went well thinking of you xx

  • Gosh that's a real gem of a memory! Hope everything went well for you today? TTx

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