Let’s make sure patients are treated with respect

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Sometimes only a hot drink will do – a nice, relaxing cuppa.

But that was not a choice given to a patient at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham after he’d had surgery.

Mike – not his real name – was told by nurses that they could only bring him cold water which, after a throat operation, caused him great discomfort.

When he asked for a hot drink, he was told by nurses ‘we’ll get you one shortly’ and to ‘wait for the tea round’.

Staff also told him they didn’t have access to the kitchen, meaning they couldn’t help even if they wanted to.

While we have great sympathy with the nursing staff, it beggars belief that the so-called ‘caring profession’ can treat people in this way.

Yes, of course there will be other priorities and, yes, of course there will be protocol. But it’s shocking to think that in 2012 a simple request for a drink can cause such a problem.

And Mike was not alone. He says on the ward there was a total of 19 requests for a hot drink – all to no avail.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust moved quickly to say the information Mike was given was wrong and that ‘patient care was its highest priority’.

But that doesn’t change the fact that a patient at its hospital was left in extreme discomfort following surgery.

If the means to provide drinks 24 hours a day is there, as it claims, then why were Mike and other patients treated in this way?

The lesson that needs to be learned here is the seemingly straightforward one that patients and their needs should always come first on the wards in our hospitals.

Of course nursing staff and others have a lot on their plate, but it’s experiences like Mike’s that can mean people end up getting a poor impression of the NHS.

In fact, it provides a fantastic service that can make a huge difference to people’s lives.

The QA should make sure no-one waits for a cuppa again.