You have let me down.
So let me down.
I’ve worked with you for, what, six years now.
I’ve challenged you to improve the experiences we have when in your care.
I’ve supported you in public and in private when I’ve known of your failings, because I believed that most of the time, most of your people were trying to do their best.
You’ve thanked me nicely for my work. “We rely on patients to tell us how they see it through their eyes.”
I’ve sat through meetings, endless meetings, meetings without visible or tangible outcomes. Meetings where you have taken us through your agendas of your chosen items.
I’ve been through two fiddled patient chair elections, where you were determined I would not be chosen.
I’ve listened at listening events, to your staff and your patients.
I’ve walked the GEMBA walks with your directors, consultants, matrons.
I’ve sat and seen, and 15 step challenged.
I’ve agreed to be the rep member of your environment committee, but you’ve never confirmed nor sent me invites.
I’ve offered numerous times to provide dementia friends sessions for staff and to help you become dementia friendly.
I’ve attended board meetings, read the papers, understood the complex issues you face, many not of your making, and made supportive public comments.
I’ve asked for five years why patient experience metrics have not improved for five years.
I’ve met your Chief Exec and directors from time to time and they’ve thanked me for my time and efforts.
You’ve all explained how you’re addressing poor care, badly performing wards, A&E pressures, your ever increasing deficits…
You’ve teamed up with Virginia Mason to become lean and mean and solution focused.
You’ve been baled out with millions and millions.
You’ve blamed the rest of the health economy.
Again and again and again.
Your non execs have shaken their heads and sighed and coughed and chuntered.
But you’ve all hidden away in your corridors.
You’re invisible. Staff don’t see you. Staff don’t talk to you. They can’t.
You aren’t there.
There’s no one at home.
We patients, who are indeed experts at seeing what you do not, are just, well, chaff, in the way, blocking your view of your corporate papers and your metrics.
We tell you month after month after month what we see.
And month after month after month you ignore us.
Or you tell us you are working with that ward on an improvement plan.
Or, yes, this ward manager has always been a bit, well, difficult.
Why do you do this to us?
Is it because you are paid a lot while we do it free? Being paid a lot makes you more important?
Is it because we haven’t done twenty or thirty years work in our health service so we can’t know all that you know?
Is it because you see complexities, subtleties, barriers, difficulties, while we see simple wrongs, bad care against good care, a patient’s one and only chance to have good care.
You see 100,000 patient episodes as one block of money.
We see them as 100,000 opportunities for people to get good, personal care.
You see good care as 95% compliance metrics.
We see good care as every patient getting food they eat, skin assessed, dressings changed, mobilisation every day, a dignified private wash, and being addressed by their name.
Brother, you have let me down.
So let me down.
After six years of giving you my support, time, insights… I have spent four days in an unsafe, chaotic, understaffed, ward in your hospital.
I have seen forged skin assessments.
I have seen drug charts on the wrong patient’s folder.
I have seen patient folders numbered differently from their bed numbers.
I have been given oxygen through a mask unattached to the supply.
I have had to ask for pain relief within hours of major surgery and then had to wait to receive just paracetamol infusion.
I have asked what my meal is and been told abruptly “whatever you ordered”.
I have seen a patient lying in agony on his own faeces, calling for help, bring told to wait. Again and again.
I have seen a patient with dementia who said he did not want to eat left unfed (and unturned) for 24 hours.
I have seen drug rounds interrupted, stopped, started, drug charts missing.
I have had my own drugs left in a plastic bag for three days on my bedside chair.
I have had to self administer my drugs from my plastic bag eight hours after a four hour operation.
I have emailed the director of nursing and deputy from my bed to tell them about all this and waited two days for someone to say…” thank you so much for telling us about this. The director will meet you in a few weeks when you feel better..”
Oh brother, you have let me down.
So let me down.
I am angry.
I am furious.
How did you allow your ward to become so awful?
What have you all been doing?
You set up this winter urology ward in the day treatment centre 17 weeks ago.
Has no one thought to get the bed numbers changed?
Has no one observed the interactions between staff and patients?
Has no one audited the drug charts?
Hasn’t anyone cared enough to make sure patients there are safe?
Haven’t you visited it?
Have you forgotten that you are running an organisation to provide safe care for us?
That we pay your salaries?
That you have have a duty to seek out poor and unsafe care and stop it happening?
You have let me down.
You have let hundreds of patients down.
And you should be ashamed.