Horrible hospital stay

Just been discharged after the worst week in hospital ever. Woke up last Monday feeling terrible with a fever, awful headache and the worst spasms I’ve ever experienced. Managed to drive to work but ended up being sent home. 2 hrs later I couldn’t stand or push myself off the sofa to get to my mobile (home alone) so ended up called NHS direct from the house phone who sent an ambulance. Good treatment in A&E and admissions ward but all Neuro wards were full so got shoved onto Diabetes / Short stay medical ward where the next youngest lady was 73!

Ward staff were awful. I’ve never ever had a bad thing to say about hospital staff before so please don’t judge me as a serial complainer. Health care assistants were rude and uncaring. Nurses (bar 2 lovely newly qualified ones) were jaded didn’t seem bothered. Doctors were few and far between.

They discovered a UTI and started me on IV antibiotics which was fair enough but insisted that Codeine should be sufficient to treat my spasms. My consultant went on maternity leave last week so they couldn;t ask her so I suggested that I needed Baclofen again. The doctor said she wanted to ask Neuro reg or MS Nurse - fine I say. Every day I asked them if they had spoken to MS nurse, every day the F1 doctor said “Its just an answer machine”. She hadn’t left a msg and I told her that if you listen to the answer machine message that it asks you to leave a message. In frustration I phoned myself and left a message.

Apparently the MS Nurse contacted the Doc but they told her I was no longer having spasms? (News to me)

I mentioned my double vision to them every day - doctor said Oh dear perhaps that will settle on its own.

I was also having difficulty swallowing and speaking. I struggled to eat for 6 days until having a SALT assessment about 4pm on Friday. I had barely managed any food yet the nursing staff recorded that I’d eaten full meals. Apparently I ate Roast Potatoes, Chicken and veg even though I have given up meat for Lent!

I was left on the bed for an hour when I’d asked to be taken to the toilet and then wet myself and was scolded for it. I was left in the bathroom in excess of 30 mins on numerous occasions even though I could hear staff chatting just outside the door about their personal lives.

Another patient regularly had food left on her table by kitchen staff ready for nursing staff to feed her, and staff would come to collect the bowl an hour later and say “Oh she’s not eaten much” “Oh just put that she ate half a bowl” Poor lady couldn’t even reach her table let alone hold a spoon.

I discharged myself in disgust and was eventually given Baclofen at a tiny amount of 5mg bid. My discharge note could’ve been written about anyone but me. Didn;t mention my double vision, SAL issues, pain or really much of what had happened. Doc noted that I seemed depressed (who knew!) and that she would recommend monitoring of my mood by GP in my discharge letter… Was it mentioned? Nope -course not.

I’m so sorry if I have caused offence or broken rules by this massive vent. Dare not tell family how awful it really was. Am feeling really down, symptoms have not resolved, can’t get a GP appointment til thursday (unless I phone tomorrow to check for a cancellation). Seeing physio tomorrow and don’t want to burden all this on her. Not sure what to do/ if I should complain/or what to do :frowning:

God, don’t feel sorry about posting this. That treatment is so utterly appalling and disgusting it’s beyond belief. No wonder the headlines say that the NHS is starving patients. To tell such outright lies about patients is scandolous. Whilst I’m sure that there are some good nurses about, my experiences of a lot of hospital staff have also been abysmal. When my father was rushed to hospital after collapsing and losing control of his bladder, he went to the medical assessment unit ( via A & E } the whole unit is crap to put it mildly. Patients are at their most scared and vunerable and often in pain and the staff in this unit were a bunch of the most inept, uncaring, shambolic individuals I’ve ever seen. One poor old man opposite my dad was having the most awful trouble breathing and it was getting worse and there were 3 staff stood near his bed arguing about whose turn it was to check on him. Unbelievable!! A nurse walked by with a bedpan in her hand and spilled a big puddle of urine on the floor, 20 mins later it still wasn’t cleaned and my husband pointed this out to staff and was met with a chilling stare and silence. When waiting in outpatients I often see nurses just standing around chatting to the receptionists and each other for 10/20 minutes at a time and doing absolutely nothing but the dept. is full of patients, surely they must have something to do?? I don’t know whether you are going to complain to PALS about your treatment but I know they all cover each others backs and it probably won’t get you anything but a " sorry if the patient was upset about her treatment blah blah blah " I do despair over the state of some of our hospitals and I’m not surprised you feel as down as you do about it. Certainly doesn’t make you feel like going in again does it.

Thanks for reply. I already said to my family that if am unable to communicate and they put me on that sort of ward again they are to demand a bed on neuro or take me to another hospital. I’m furious about my treatment and the staff taking advantage of patients vunerability. I might contact PALS but its my word against theirs. The only thing that would make it stand up would be the A&E doctor’s / paramedics notes about my presenting symptoms not ever being addressed during my stay on ward X. I saw so many blunders during that week - its scary! The neurology ward at this hospital is amazing (I’ve been there multiple times ) but this is the 1st time I’ve had to stay elsewhere. They now list an endocrinologist as being my consultant…WHAT?? and repeatedly woke me up in the middle of the night because they wnted to check my blood glucose! Fools!

NHS is a very scary prospect for anyone with a chronic disease and I am now terrified of going back to hospital. Hoping no-one suggests I should still be there!

What an awful experience you have had and strongly suggest you complain to PALS. No one should ever, ever be treated in this way it is beyond belief that anyone could treat someone in this way.

I regularly have infusions at a hospital and on one particular occasion after the infusion had finished they said the doc’ wanted me to have a blood test, they tried 6 times to take blood and was about to try again and I said no, stop I’ve had enough. I was black and blue down each arm. My O/H was disgusted when he saw the state of my arms so we complained to PALS. They came back to us the same day having followed up our complaint and said the nurse concerned would be monitored again.

Just make sure you complain to PALS and if you’re not happy with them complain to your MP. Don’t let them get away with such shoddy treatment.

Hope you soon feel better and send (((((HUGS)))))



I unyderstand your situation completely the last time I was in hospital I was so traumatised I considered going to Switerland rather than face ever going back into hospital again.

It was a dreadful experience. Even when I complained they didn’t believe what I was saying until I said okay I’ve got the names and addresses of the other women on the ward who can verify what happen and then they took some notice. They say they have changed things as a result, but I never want to go back to check it out. It’s sad that I’d rather die than to go somewhere that should be a caring environment.

Put in a written complaint as that way it might lead to change.

;-/ Mary


This sounds horrendous, there is no justification for your treatment or the behaviour of the medical staff.

If you can and it is not going to be too difficult for you, please complain. It is the only thing that might stop it happening to other vulnerable patients in the future.

As others have suggested, I do think you need to complain. If everyone this has happened to thinks: “There’s no point, I won’t be listened to”, then conditions at the hospital will certainly never improve.

You might want to try getting in touch with MP Ann Clwyd for guidance, as she is a prominent campaigner for standards of care in hospitals, after her husband (who had MS) died in appalling circumstances.

Even if she is not able to take up your case herself, she will no doubt be able to put you in touch with campaign or support organisations, that help patients (or their families) with issues like this.


Please make an official complaint via PALS or the complaint department of your NHS trust - you will be helping currebnt and future patients to that ward.

I recently had to make a complaint on behalf of my daughter who has developed a health condition as the hospital in question had not followed up an MRI or notified her GP of earlier findings and proposed surgery.

I had a letter of apology from her consultant last week (I’m sure it wasn’t his fault though) and her review brought forward as urgent.

Please complain, nothing will change unless more people stand up for their rights.

you poor thing - that sounds absolutely horrendous! and from what you saw you weren’t the only one suffering. you know better than anyone how you were feeling etc and they chose to ignore your voice. you need to make that complaint to make things known and hopefully help make a better future.

hope you feel better really soon xxx

Thanks for the replies everyone

Had appointment with GP (not my usual one) today to try and sort things out that had been missed. She was running over an hour behind and looked at me in horror when I described what had happened. Horror as in " I don’t have time to deal with this" - she increased my baclofen, gave me a sick note and told me that according to the hospital discharge letter that I was improved and to make a further appointment as she didn’t have time to discuss my low mood (I was sobbing and shaking as I told her what had happened)

Left there in tears and waited for MS nurse to call back (again not my usual one) MS nurse said that I shouldn’t have called an ambulance for a UTI and told me I should’ve “nipped down to the doctors with a wee sample for them to dip”. Told her that it was NHS direct that sent the ambulance as the only place I was capable of nipping was face down on the floor. She was really patronising and said that none of the things I’d mentioned were detailed in my notes, that I was much improved, had baclofen through my stay, that I’d had no visual problems and had a good appetite. “THAT IS MY POINT” says I.

Her advice was to grin and bear it til the symptoms went away as it was too soon for more steroids. I didn’t want steroids, just a follow up SALT review, advice about my blurry vision and a bit of emotional support I said. Her response was that I have had MS a long time now (only 5 years) and that I should know what to expect a little more. She then added that I shouldn’t get myself stressed or anxious as it was bad for my MS.

Later on today I had a physio appointment which ended up taking 90 minutes as my physio spent the first 40 minutes giving me a hug, drying my tears and just listening to me. What an angel she is! Have decided definitely to write to PALS - they have an office about a mile away. If that had been my child, sister, mother on that ward then I would have wanted to know what really goes on. Today had taught me that even when bad things do happen. SOme NHS professionals (not all) will stick together rather than listen to the possibility that some of their peers have failed in their duty of care towards patients


Totally agree with Anu - you should complain.

Have you considered requesting a copy of your notes from the time you were admitted to the time you were discharged. There will surely be in black and white some glaring examples of incompetency in your care.

(There’s no point in referring to the old lady who was not being fed properly. Horrendous though it is.)

You must focus on the things that happened to you and things you can prove.

I certainly would mention the other patient as well! I don’t agree that there’s no point. What you’ve witnessed with your own eyes IS evidence, as well as what happened to you personally. Who knows whether that lady or her family may have complained? They may be glad another patient came forward with the same story - though I don’t suppose they’d ever be told - but if the hospital received two independent reports of the same incident, they couldn’t dismiss it as an elderly patient being “confused”. T.

When my boyfriend complains about ‘official’ problems he ccs the letter, or email, a few people.

For shopping type problems which relate to the sale of goods act he’s contacted the store manager, the CEO of the company, the company lawyer. It’s clear in the letter that he’s done that! It makes it harder for it to be ignored.

In your situtation I’d send a letter/email to your GP, Hospital Manger, Trust Manager, your MP, Ann Clwyd and anyone else who may have the power to actually do something! As well as PALS, of course.s

If you send an email, which is the easiest option, make sure you set it to send a recieve reciept and a read reciept. If that’s what they’re called. That way you know that they’ve recieved it, and read it

Good Luck with your complait.

take care,


That is awful. Firstly you need a . What a horrendous experience especially when you were at your lowest. That is one of my biggest fears; being stuck in a chair and not being able to move when I’m on my own. It must have been very scary from the outset …

Apart from the dreadful treatment at the hospital I cannot believe the patronising attitude you received from the MS nurse. Five years is not a long time and how can you know what to expect from a disease that is constantly throwing the unknown at you? I’m only 4 years in and am always questioning whether something is the MS or something else and should I be worried or should I ignore it? Sometimes my symptoms worsen and I drop a urine sample into the surgery and all is clear so how can we possibly know what is a relapse and what is a UTI; we are not experts especially when it’s only been a few years. I hope your usual nurse is more empathetic than this one …

Anyway, chin up girl and now to begin the fight for everyone who receives such shoddy treatment. You’ve already had some good advice so i have nothing further to add there. I’m sure those higher up in the NHS will want to know what really happens on the ward.


I have gone Anon for obvious reasons,

My wite is a HR professional in the NHS and has said to me today after reading your post that if we are to sort these problems out then the people at the top need to be made aware of them. Yes PALS will look into it but the real way of making things happen is a letter to the Chief Executive.

According to my wife if a complaint lands on the Chief Ex’s desk then lets just say walls are knocked down to get answers.