Fringe Box



Letter: My Different Experiences at the Royal Surrey

Published on: 8 Aug, 2023
Updated on: 8 Aug, 2023

Royal Surrey County Hospital (RSCH)

From: Paul Robinson

In response to: Dragon Interview – The Royal Surrey’s CEO, Louise Stead

After 35 years of having private medical cover provided by my employer, it is only since I retired three years ago that I have had to use NHS second-line medical care at the Royal Surrey.

My first experience was about a year after retirement when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and I cannot praise enough the speed at which I was treated and the level of care I received at the Stokes Centre.

Once I had received a higher-than-normal PSA result, within a week I had an MRI scan which didn’t show anything up. But a subsequent biopsy confirmed cancer was present. I was treated within three months and so far the results have been successful.

In late June this year, I had to go into the Short Stay Surgical Unit for some day case surgery. My experience could not have been more different.

I checked in at 7.30am, as requested, but I as there were no beds available I had to sit around in the waiting area until about 10 o’clock when I was taken down to be prepped for surgery.

During that time I had the usual chats with the surgeon and the anaesthetist. For these conversations I was taken to side rooms which were actually small store rooms! One of the staff actually called them “broom cupboards”.

At about 10 o’clock I was taken away to be prepared for surgery and was once again taken to a store room to change into a gown and then walked to theatre.

After surgery, I was kept in the recovery room for about three hours until a ward bed became available. Apart from being given a cup of tea and a sandwich I didn’t see any nursing staff unless I buzzed them.

The surgeon saw me after about an hour of being put in the ward and said I could go home after I had urinated. After I had I went back to my bed and buzzed the nurse to tell her I had been to the toilet but while in the bathroom I had come over very hot and weak-kneed. She just looked at me as if to say, “What are you telling me this for?”

I had to explain what the surgeon had said about going home. I also expected some rudimentary health checks after reporting how I had felt in the bathroom or to be told that they were quite common side effects after surgery, but she said nothing.

At about 5 o’clock another patient was given his evening meal so I thought I had better see if I was now staying the night. I called a student nurse over and asked what the game plan was for me.

She said I was going home, but there had been no indication of that since my bathroom visit, until I asked. Within about 20 minutes of asking I was given my discharge paper and medication.

The only plus points of this experience were how attentive the recovery room staff were and apologetic for the wait for a ward bed.

I had waited four months between initial consultation and the procedure, which I thought was very reasonable considering the industrial action and the Covid backlog. I was expecting a wait of over a year.

I fed back my experience to the hospital and, within a few hours, a matron rang me back to talk to me about it. Although they couldn’t identify the nurse involved she said it would be mentioned at team briefings.

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