I am inspired to continue writing my post about 'our hospital experience' following a couple of comments which made me realise that my post was not the most up beat about the hospitals and certainly the comments were justified and very true and ones I agree wholeheartedly with. However, it also made me want to convey a couple of things, very important things.
The staff on the wards at LGI were nothing short of fantastic, resources and staffing levels though preventing them from giving the kind of exceptional care I expect they set out in their training to give. Infact talking to a mum in the school playground at pick up this afternoon, I discovered not only is she a paediatric nurse but she also use to work at LGI, that is until staffing got so bad no-one knew who to turn to, where they would be working as they were all pushed from ward to ward depending on where they were needed the most and never knew which doctors to contact as they were in the same boat.
The facilities were not great, one toilet available for parents is shocking but there were toilets on the corridor available to us, which is how the management get around it.
We have been fortunate enough (or maybe that should be unfortunate enough!), to be treated and be inpatients at a number of hospitals over the last 7 years and I am afraid I have the gold standard, best in the world hospital on that list.
As an 8 week old baby (still not actually reached his due date) Little Man stopped breathing on us only 10 days after bringing him home and we were transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital's intensive care unit for 6 days where Little Man was on life support and received care that was out of this world. Both myself and my husband were given a room in a Ronald MacDonald House opposite, and it made our lives that much easier. Only 7 weeks after that discharge we were transferred back to GOSH, this time for emergency surgery on a strangulated hernia. Our 2nd experience took us to Rabbit Ward where we were put in a side room, which had this kind of sleeper couch and en suite. It wasn't the most comfortable with both of us trying to use it, but we got by. Each ward had a sensory room as well as a playroom but then GOSH has the funding to provide such facilities. However the staff are still NHS.
Within our array of hospitals we have also resided in Hemel Hempstead's children's ward now sadly and wrongly closed, Watford's children's ward and Watford's staff saved my life after the birth of Jack, and Harrogate hospital. We have also been under the Royal Brompton for 4 years, and been out patients at Luton and Dunstable and St Albans. Out of all these hospitals, LGI has been the worst in my experience. The London hospitals I wouldn't know about parking costs as we relied on trains and lifts. The southern hospitals all seem to give you a permit if your child is an inpatient, Harrogate give a 50% discount, but their costs are lower, for 24 hours it was a little over £10.00. LGI's parking was outrageous, and yes as my comments said not an extra worry needed on top of having a child in hospital.
However, in all our experience the NHS staff have never failed us and I have only recently cancelled my private healthcare which I never used and doubt I ever will. At the end of the day I am seeing the same doctors, being treated in the same facilities, the only difference is I pay a consultant a whacking great fee to see me earlier, and so far the kids and me have all been seen.within weeks when we needed to be seen. I know there may come a day when we need that immediate appointment and we can pay from our own pocket (hopefully).
The surgeon who operated on Mini Man on Sunday started surgery at 9am Saturday morning, after each case he went to see the parents in person, didn't just send his junior, and was still operating come 11.15pm that same night. It was the same surgeon back on 9am the following morning. On one hand it is worrying that they are working such long shifts, and they must be tired, on the other hand that shows sheer dedication to me. My friend is a consultant anaesthetist and she has said many times they are trained from University stage to work very long shifts, but even so that surgeon must have done a 15-16 hour day in surgery. The nurses were all lovely however, they were being pulled in every direction possible.
I simply feel so sorry for anyone working in our healthcare system, management, paperwork and lack of funding or rather funding being used in the wrong places (i.e managers wages and bonus') are preventing the levels of staffing needed.