Thursday, 24 February 2011
A Hospital’s Ivory Tower
Solid wooden doors of polished oak, coffee served in china mugs. I’m no longer visiting ward 2 at the Leicester General Hospital. I’m in the domain of hospital management, the hospital’s ivory tower.
The Director of Nursing has invited me to meet with her. This is not to discuss my mother’s harrowing experience of hospital neglect which I wrote about here in my previous blog post. I’ll be meeting with the Board of the Trust to discuss that at a later date. This is a fact finding meeting to enable me to make sure that lessons really will be learned and changes really will be made.
The following day I have a telephone meeting with the Chief Executive of the Leicester NHS Trust. I have been trying to make contact with him since I first sent my complaint letter. We have a productive discussion around the two areas that I have identified, two areas where I am hoping that improvements can be seen to be made and can be monitored. The planning is still in its early stages but the two areas I’m targeting are:
Item 1: To ensure that the nurse in charge of a ward is visible and available to both patients and visitors during each shift.
Item 2: To ensure that complaints are treated with urgency, respect and confidentiality.
The words are easy to type. The task is far tougher. I’m even having problems working out who is in charge of a hospital ward. I’ve been told that it’s a matron, a head nurse, a ward sister and/or a ward manager. So who exactly do I insist is visible and available to both patients and visitors? I’m starting to suspect that this is going to be a Kilimanjaro-style uphill struggle.
Item 2 proves to be even more of a problem. A complaints service must be respected by hospital users and not feared as it is by so many of the people who I have spoken to since my mother went into hospital. I’ve got to make sure that I fully understand the issues and ask for improvements that are demonstrable and quantifiable. Only then will this campaign succeed. I’m hoping to meet with the department as soon as possible.
Like I said, it’s a Kilimanjaro-style ascent, but I’m putting on my crampons, my oxygen mask is checked and packed, and I’ll keep you all posted as I climb.