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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 July 2005, 19:52 GMT 20:52 UK
Sharing experiences of care

The Royal Sussex County Hospital where this edition of Panorama was filmed is one of the nine worst acute NHS Trusts in England according to the government's league table. It has zero stars and is trying to cope with a debt of more than nine million pounds.

If you live in England then it is possible to access the national ratings for your own local hospital.

In the course of researching this programme, Panorama has spoken to older people or their relatives across the UK about their experiences of the care they've received in British hospitals.

Many people contacted us through this website after a programme we made about shortfalls in the care being supplied by some carers who visited older people to help them in their own homes.

If you have a story about the care you received which you would like to share with us, then please e-mail us using the form you can find here or write to us at BBC Panorama, Room 1118, White City, 201 Wood Lane, London W12 7TS

The following comments express some of the experiences of the people we've spoken to during the course of making this programme.

Christine Taylor

Christine Taylor
Christine's father died in hospital in 2004 at the age of 77. He spent some time prior to his death in a secure ward.

"My mother was told that on the ward my father wouldn't be allowed to use his zimmer frame. He was put in incontinence pads and he was often found in a reclining chair, tilted back. We discovered that his food was being pureed. Physically he just seemed to spend the entire day in a reclining chair. It looked to us as if it was convenient to put him in a corner somewhere and leave him there. He should have been treated as an individual. They should have been encouraging him to maintain the skills he still had."

Judith Boehm

Judith broke her leg in January 2005 in a fall. After five weeks in hospital she was transferred to a rehabilitation centre where she stayed for six weeks.

"The people in the rehabilitation centre were absolute angels. You only had to ring a bell and they were there. I had a nice room and they always brought chairs in for visitors. The only thing it lacked was an en suite bathroom. You were offered tea and coffee regularly outside of meal times. We had physiotherapy and exercise. I can't say enough that is good about the unit really."

Joyce Brassam

Joyce Brassan
Joyce is 90 years old and is blind. She was training a new blind dog when she tripped on a pavement and fractured her knee cap. Her leg was put in plaster and she had to stay in hospital while it healed because she couldn't have coped on her own at home.

"(The nurse) got me out of bed one morning. She took my nightie off and she sat me on a chair. Then somebody shouted break and she went away and left me on a chair naked and I sat there and sat there and it was coffee time and somebody put their head round the curtain and saw me sitting there naked... this was the sort of thing which used to happen..."

On a separate overnight stay in hospital, Joyce had trouble eating.

"A sister happened to come by, and she just came to the bed and said 'Oh my goodness, you do look uncomfortable'. I said 'Sister, I've been like this for hours.' She drew the curtains. She took me out of bed. She made me comfortable. She remade the bed. I said 'Sister, it's like being in heaven. Why can't the others do it?' And because that sister had put her foot on the bed and put the bed up to the right height, then next morning when she was still on duty she was able to put a spoon in my hand and I was able to eat some porridge. That was the only food I had in that hospital because after that another nurse came along and lowered the bed and it was never put up again and the table was never put over the bed. I was not able to reach anything."

Alan Goodman

Alan is 86 years old and lives in Southport.

I count myself lucky and well served by the NHS. I have been an in-patient four times, a day patient twice and an A&E patient twice. During these last eleven years I have been treated quickly, efficiently and with all comfort and care. I could not have wished for better. I have had a cardiac triple by-pass from which I have had no difficulties. Other people I know have had only praise for the treatments which they received in the same hospital. Of course there are unreasonable patients, nurses and doctors but it is important that infrequent clashes are not blown out of proportion.

Glenis Prince

Glenis Prince
Glenis's sister Doreen, 72, was admitted to hospital in 2004.

"Sometimes there'd be a pill in a little plastic cup on the trolley and when Doreen was asked 'what's this tablet?' she wasn't aware that the tablet was in the cup... She was a stroke patient with a complete left-sided stroke and yet somebody had just seen fit to plonk a tablet in a little plastic cup on a trolley but not actually come and encourage her to put it in her mouth and take some water."

"It was really depressing for my sister to have to be stuck in a bed for thirteen weeks but then, to add insult to injury, having to lie in her own diarrhoea because she couldn't communicate to people to come and clean her up. She was dependent on them coming in and saying "Are you OK? Do you need changing? Do you need the toilet?" Nobody offered that facility. We had to ask for it every time we visited... It seemed very much that the nurses were having to work to so tight a regime that they really hadn't got time to give T.L.C. and I do fear for other people who haven't got family to back up the care."

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