“I suppose I am a frequent flyer; I’m in and out of hospital all the time, but I’ve seldom been disappointed at Whipps Cross,” a patient told the Trust board.
Hilary Koppel described her experience on Curie ward for the benefit of non-executives at the first board meeting held in public since the pandemic. Hilary, who has a history of bone problems and undergone several bouts of surgery, was admitted after fracturing her leg in a fall at home.
She told the meeting how she arrived with some trepidation to see a long ward with lots of beds that reminded her of visiting her own grandmother years ago. “But after a few hours I realised I was in somewhere special. I was in for two and a half months and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” she said.
“The care was – well, imagine seeing a GP every day for 25 minutes. Everything was done, bloods taken, the doctors come round with a trolley in the morning, two or three of them, everything is examined. I have never experienced care like that before and I have been in different hospitals a lot.”
She added: “I don’t know how they do it. Everything is under control. There is usually the right amount of staff per patient. Everybody does the same thing whether a sister or the most junior nurse. If a patient needs something the sister does not send for someone but does it herself, nobody has an air of superiority and that benefits the patient because you know you can rely on every single person to treat you with compassion…. I didn’t want to go.”
Board members are used to hearing feedback from patients and questioned Hilary to see what we could learn from her experience in order to improve the quality of care. She expressed content with the degree of privacy, praised the way staff washed her hair in bed, and waxed lyrical about the “beautiful” bed linen – “OK it is not Harrods, but it was high quality and quite the most comfortable bed I have had in my life,” she added.
Hilary explained how she suffered a further fall on the ward and felt terrible - because she didn’t want the nurses blamed. “People might say I broke my leg to stay in longer, but honestly it was not a ploy to lengthen my stay by a few weeks, it was all my fault,” she said.
Hilary concluded by extending her compliments to the hospital’s emergency department, which she attended last weekend: “the doctor could not have been more attentive. Nothing was too much trouble,” she said.