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.



  1. I wish you so much luck with this. You've taken on a worthy challenge and I hope you succeed. You're good people, Rosalind. Take care.

  2. Thank goodness for you Rosalind, my experience was with ward 2 also and their apalling treatment of my beloved Mum, it affected me so much that I asked my GP to write on my notes not to admit me ever ever to ward 2.

  3. You should be earning a fortune in consultancy fees for all the work you are putting into this.

  4. Thanks Jemi.

    So sorry to hear about your experience, Anonymous, and thank you for commenting.

    Hi Another Migraine, all I want is for our hospitals to be safe and caring. That'll be payment enough.

  5. Good luck, Rosalind. It sounds like you're making progress - just getting the right people to meet with you can be a momentous task. Well done and please keep us posted.

  6. Everyone I have spoken to is appalled and horrified at the treatment mum was subjected to in Ward 2 - the family is supporting and backing you all the way. "Our thoughts and love are with you as you Climb". Big hugs x x x

  7. Hi,

    OMG, I wish you well in your campaign/challenge to scale the heights of the NHS (latter letters a joke), in that it's not a National Health Service it's now a franchised health provision industry run by mostly incompetant CEO drop/throw-outs from the commercial world of sales and marketing! By God they have all the right spiel down pat in how to pass the buck!

    As for who to contact per ward, "all hail the ward manager-cum-matron-cum senior sister" wearing mufti more suited to M&S fashion shoot! Worse still, there are usually so few "qualified" RGN (registered general nursing staff on a ward) HCAs (health care assistants) tend to promote themselves to voice in charge, hence visitors and patients conned into believing these "voice pieces" are actually super qualified nurses.

    There's also misguided belief that "whistle-blowing" by nurses is encouraged. Nothing could be further from the truth: internal systems of bullying from the top down ensure rare cases of whistle-blowing. Step out of line, appear rebel-like and all hell comes down on the head of someone who speaks up.

    So, double good luck!


  8. Thanks, Talli, I will.

    Hi Rifka, it helps to know there's so much support.

  9. Hi Francine, I agree with you totally. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the NHS and thanks for the follow.

  10. Best of luck to you!!!

  11. Hi Rosalind. So saddened to read about how both your mother & you have been treated ... saddened but, unfortunately, not shocked. I'm afraid Francine's comments above tell it how it really is. But, on the positive side, I have a distinct feeling that your campaign will bring about positive results. I sincerely hope so - & if there is any way I can help, please let me know. You have my total admiration & warmest wishes.

  12. Thanks Laura.

    Hi Peter, thank you for your confidence in me and for the offer of help. Like I say, it helps to know I have people's support.

  13. I admire you for doing what you believe in. Most people do not have your grit to carry out their projects. You've got my vote and I wish you the best.
    Love and peace.

  14. I really admire what you're doing. I work in alternative dispute resolution here in Australia, so I have a chance to see a lot of organisations setting up and maintaining complaints handling systems. You may find the International Standards on Complaint Handling useful in terms of demonstrating that what you're asking for is reasonable. You can google it if you're link-shy, or click here:


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