Hospital staff at the sharp end

PUBLISHED: 16:59 19 October 2006 | UPDATED: 11:03 06 May 2010

SIR – Lister hospital. People should stop criticising the Lister. Yes, it has had problems but they are all mainly down to the lack of staff and domestics, due to the NHS trying to save money. The nurses work endlessly to care for our patients, we all wor

SIR - Lister hospital. People should stop criticising the Lister. Yes, it has had problems but they are all mainly down to the lack of staff and domestics, due to the NHS trying to save money.

The nurses work endlessly to care for our patients, we all work extremely hard to ensure patient care is at its best but when you have less staff due to cutbacks there is only so much you can do. Many nurses often stay behind for hours after they have finished shifts to make sure things are done. Even though we are short of staff, we are still expected to give out all meals and beverages throughout many days because we have no housekeeper.

Then we get complaints that we are running behind on what we are supposed to be doing so we cannot win - but yet due to money we cannot get extra staff! The hospital has its faults we all know this, but instead of complaining about it all the time think about the thousands of patients who we save each year and are very happy with their care. Unfortunately we only hear about the bad stuff. I also think about the upset, angry, overworked and undervalued nurses on certain wards that are being redeployed from wards they love and made to move to other wards due to more cuts and closings of wards! Yet they all still come in on every shift smiling and have to carry on as normal as though nothing is happening

NAME AND ADDRESS

SUPPLIED

SIR - The Comet could have the power to improve greatly the treatment of people at the Lister. Your correspondents are correct, a few will only meet the excellent doctors, nurses and cleaners, but a majority will come across bad examples. I can confirm most of the hygiene lapses mentioned by the letters (eg. no soap in most of the lavatories I tried to use), and would add permanently open doors to MRSA patients, children smearing bodily fluids on objects used by patients and nurses, and peeping into closed curtains.

Allow me to get behind all the complaints to the fundamental causes. I am talking about eternally good practices.

Firstly, respect for the patient - I was horrified to learn that the practice of calling in every patient long before 9am in case they are needed before 3pm still continues - worse still, many are called in for an administrative session beforehand, where they give their details for sometimes the 20th time.

It should be recognised that time spent waiting is expensive for some patients, and in all cases disruptive for their families and friends. It would also help to recognise that appointments are not imposable by one party. The Trust spokesman you quoted on page nine on October 12 is wrong - the Trust has a duty of care to protect patients from visitors - it is actually the patients in the beds who are disturbed and put at risk by large numbers of unruly visitors. The Trust must control visitors, and it does have all necessary powers.

Secondly, discipline on the wards. Someone on each ward should control the nurses, patients, visitors, consultants, and cleaners.

Thirdly, feedback, what matters is how patients perceive their treatment - no-one has ever asked me. The management should do nothing else until they institute such a system. It will give them the truth, which I am sure will be something of a shock. I wonder what the groups who allegedly represent patients are doing.

I would like Nick Carver to sign up publicly to the above three policies. They are basic to achieving his targets.

In-patient Survival Guide: antiseptic wipes, pyjamas, dressing gown, your own drugs (including indigestion remedies), warm socks, lots of patience, soap in a box, towel, toothbrush and paste, a box for dentures, and arrange, third-world style, for food to be brought in. A mobile is of great benefit for staff and patients, though you need to check in each location that it is safe to switch on.

Meanwhile, my local surgery is now charging a premium rate to wait in a telephone queue!

NAME AND ADDRESS

SUPPLIED

SIR - In reply to Mr B J Smith's comment made in the October 12 edition, regarding the state of the Lister Hospital, he says 'How would you feel if everyone slagged off every effort you made to carry out your designated task? OK the NHS has problems, don't we all have problems? Get a life!'

The designated task of us as patients is to be treated comprehensively in a clean and professional environment. My previous letter mentioned an operation that was due to take place and has been cancelled for the second time due to administrative errors. The surgeon is not actually in, this was after spending most of yesterday being clerked (having blood taken/ECG/etc) which was a total waste of resources (the ranking for use of resources at the Lister was rated as 'weak' by the Healthcare Commission)

Our task as patients is to try and carry on our lives (which we have all got thank you very much Mr Smith!) through treatment by the NHS, and failure to do so is being hindered by the poor service, errors and general mismanagement of the NHS at the Lister. Perhaps sir, if you were experiencing some of these problems, you may have some empathy for those on this side of the fence.

ERMINE HUNTE

Malthouse Green

Wigmore

Luton

SIR - Further to the recent article in your paper, which I class as gutter journalism, about the Lister Hospital, I would now like to put another point of view.

I have worked in the newspaper industry for over 40 years and know how well paid we are, and have far more skeletons in the cupboard!

Now let us try and be a bit more constructive and strive to help all NHS workers, doctors, nurses, cleaners etc. I have been in the Lister for the last week and before that for two weeks in intensive care at the QEII. I was taken into A&E in a very serious condition, in fact, life threatening. The treatment I had there and in ICU saved my life, for which I and my family will be eternally grateful. When transferred to the Lister Hospital, Renal Unit Ward 6B where I found the ward impeccably clean and care from the staff from doctors down to the cleaners was of the highest standard. The patients in the ward and myself were very grateful. The care goes beyond the nursing to aftercare when returning home.

I think if your newspaper started campaigning for the local hospitals by badgering the Health Secretary for more equipment, more staff, more hospitals, more beds and not cutbacks you would be doing your county more service than that of rocking the boat.

Let us start with a campaign for Lottery funding, instead of lining somebody else's pockets with the profits, also for Government to put a stop to some farcical handouts which we are all scared to talk about because it is politically incorrect.

Let us begin now and fight for our county hospitals, we need them.

BRIAN HODGES

Bell Lane

Broxbourne

EDITOR'S NOTE: As an

experienced journalist you would know that all newspapers respond to the views of their readers and Comet readers have been

unequivocal in raising concerns over various issues concerning the NHS Trust in recent weeks.


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