Monday, 1 May 2017

In hospital

Well, having been in the Ulster Hospital for 4½ days, I must say I was totally impressed with everything. It was the exact reverse of all those media stories about English hospitals, with their long trolley waits, staff shortages, bed shortages, cancelled operations, lack of cleanliness etc.

I was admitted at 7 am on Thursday and operated on at midday. I was then transferred to the brand-new inpatient block that opened a few weeks ago, and they kept me in for several days to ensure there were no problems. I was seen as "high risk" as I'm over 60!

The new block is absolutely state of the art. Instead of the old communal wards, there are private rooms with en-suite bathrooms throughout, giving patients as much quiet and privacy as they want, and no long queues for communal bathrooms.

Everything in sight was pristine, with cleaning staff hoovering and mopping and wiping, and bed linen changed, every morning.

The food was fine - hardly cordon bleu standard but tasty enough not to be left on the plate. There were plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options.

The TV was free so I regularly watched the news and also the final episode of Line of Duty. There was a zapper to control the light, the blinds, the TV and call for a nurse.

All the medical staff were wonderful - friendly, helpful, conscientious, well-trained. They kept a close eye on my vital signs like blood pressure, pulse and temperature, ensured I wasn't dehydrated, and kept checking if I needed any pain relief (strangely enough, despite all the nerve endings in the prostate, I had no pain whatever). They explained anything I wanted to know and kept me updated on when I might be discharged.

Before I was admitted, I was nervous that my stay might be such an unpleasant ordeal I'd be desperate to leave. As it  happened, it was so comfortable and relaxing I was almost sorry to go.

28 comments:

Bijoux said...

Great to hear that you are back home and doing well. And I'm glad it wasn't as bad as you thought it might be!

John Gray said...

Nice to hear my/our nhs getting a big up for a change!

Nick said...

Bijoux: It was a surprisingly enjoyable stay. And costing nothing except my taxes. Long live the NHS!

John: You must have seen some rather grim wards in your time. But this one was a shining example of good practice!

Wisewebwoman said...

Great news Nick. It sounds like you stayed in a classy hotel!

Good to have you back in the blog field!

XO
WWW

tammy j said...

please send this post to our president and congress.

so glad you're doing well!
full speed and great health ahead!
and thanks again to your jenny for keeping us informed.

Dave Martin said...

Sounds like you really fell on your feet there, Nick.
I've been in Addenbrookes in Cambridge four times - had one cancelled appointment with less than 24hrs notice, and it was clear they were terribly understaffed.
However, the nurses were beyond reproach, doing a fantastic job under difficult circumstances.
Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Helen Devries said...

I'm glad that it all went so well....and that you can refute the tall tales about the state of the NHS.

Nick said...

www: Not quite, but definitely superior to the average budget hotel!

Tammy: Ha, I think it would be binned long before it reached Trump!

Dave: Ironic that it was because I had to wait 18 months that I ended up in the brand new inpatient block. If I'd gone into hospital more rapidly, I'd have been in one of the old communal wards.

Nick said...

Helen: There's a lot of variation between UK hospitals. Some are excellent, some are dreadful. Clearly standards at the Ulster Hospital are very high.

Grannymar said...

Sounds like you were treated like royalty. As you know Nick, a very different experience to mine over the last 6-9 months. I am really pleased for you.

Jennifer said...

I'm glad you had a good experience, Nick. I hope you're healed and feeling back to 100% soon!

kylie said...

The Australian public hospital system often gets a similar bad rap to the NHS but I have always found it to be good within it's limitations.

Of course, the thing I know most about is birth and birth in the public system is generally less interventionist than in the private system, it also has higher level care for very sick infants. The food is better in private hospitals but i doubt anyone remembers what they ate on the day they gave birth.

I'm pleased you had a good experience and are improving!

Rummuser said...

Congratulations and welcome back. I have been hospitalised five times in my life for major surgery and my experiences too were similar to yours. Just to cheer you up again, you might like to go to http://rummuser.com/hospital-story/

CheerfulMonk said...

I'm so glad you had such a good experience. And that it's over and you are well. :)

Nick said...

Grannymar: Not quite royalty, but certainly as a vulnerable post-op patient who needed lots of care and attention!

Jennifer: Thanks. I'm looking forward to not having to pee several times during the night!

Nick said...

Kylie: Presumably the private system is more interventionist because that means a bigger bill and a bigger profit? Here in the UK there's renewed concern about poor regulation of private medicine after the shocking Ian Paterson saga (hundreds of unnecessary breast operations). The NHS is much more tightly regulated.

Nick said...

Ramana: A great story! Your arthritis of the brain must have caused a bit of bemused head-scratching!

Jean: Thanks. Yes, all done and dusted except that I have to take it easy for a few weeks and not do any heavy lifting or anything strenuous.

kylie said...

Well yes, i guess the bottom line is more interventions mean more money although I'm not convinced that private doctors are always consciously thinking about that.
In my opinion, a lot of intervention arises because private docs would prefer that their weekends and evenings were not interrupted by a baby so they do more inductions leading to more other interventions. In a public hospital, the doctor who is on duty has to be there regardless so there is less reason to try to manipulate the time of birth

Ursula said...

Nick, hi, was with you in thought if not with a bunch of grapes. My bedside manners are terrible - so do count yourself lucky.

How did you find the anesthetic? Never mind the surgeon, it's the anesthetist you need to make friends with (before he knocks you out). By way of commiserations and concern I wrote you a long comment on the joys of waking up, post op, gently being slapped round the face to ascertain whether you are still alive. I had the good sense to delete it all in case I'd frighten your horse into bolting.

All the best,
U

Nick said...

Kylie: That explanation makes sense. No inconvenient births to interrupt their afternoon at the golf course!

Ursula: I opted for a general anaesthetic rather than a local/epidural. No problem with it at all. I woke up an hour or so after the operation and didn't even feel groggy. Not only that, they inserted my catheter while I was still under the anaesthetic so I avoided that uncomfortable experience!

BrightenedBoy said...

Kind of amazing the level of capitalist propaganda that's out there, isn't it? Over here it's so powerful that uninsured people regularly vote for politicians who oppose extending health insurance. Glad you had a pleasant experience.

Nick said...

BrightenedBoy: I know, it's the same in the UK. Some of the worst-off in society regularly vote for the Tories, even though the Tories couldn't care less about them and are only interested in making the rich richer.

Jenny Woolf said...

I'm very glad that your op went okay and you had such a positive experience of hospital. I know many people working in different branches of the NHS and they usually feel beleaguered, specially by Jeremy Hunt. I can't say how much I admire the people who work in hospitals and keep trying to make them as good as possible.

Nick said...

Jenny: Indeed, many NHS staff feel totally beleaguered and treated with disdain by Jeremy Hunt. He acts as though the NHS is just a minor part of his job he needn't pay much attention to.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Late to the game, but I'm glad to hear everything went so well and you had such a good experience with the hospital. Hope you are continuing to heal up well!

Nick said...

Agent: I'm recovering steadily, though it might be several months before I feel totally my old robust self.

joared said...

Glad everything went well with your surgery and hospitalization experience. Continue on the mend!

Nick said...

Thanks, Joared!