"A shocking example of failing care for..."

About: Queen Elizabeth I I Hospital (Welwyn Garden City)

What I liked

I would like to be positive but cannot

What could be improved

Communication between staff

Communication between staff and patient

Communication between staff and relatives

Clinical management

Clinical services/ skills available

Anything else?

My elderly mother had the misfortune to end up in this hospital. She suffered a cardiac arrest pre-surgery (possibly as a result of the anaesthetic). After a successful CPR she was put in a recovery room and was left fighting for breath and fighting for her life due to an incorrectly fitted laryngeal mask (this was only corrected when pointed out by a family member who is an Emergency Medicine Consultant!).

The family has had to constantly battle to get what little information it could and most of this has come from very junior trainee doctors. My mother sat in a wet bed for 3hrs one night and said that she felt ‘bullied’ by the night staff on one occasion.

The pain management that she receives appears to be sub-standard in comparison to that of other hospitals with similar cases and leads us to the conclusion that Welwyn staff do not have the clinical skills to administer appropriate pain relief.

Clearly the information flow between doctors dealing with her case is woefully inadequate and they do not appear to possess the skill to communicate effectively with relatives either. Concerned questioning tends to be met with confrontational responses. There have been exceptions but the poor communication by medical staff is generally unacceptable. The nursing staff do their best but can only provide information that is shared with them by the doctors.

This seems to be a perfect example of the ‘NHS failing to treat elderly patients in England with care, dignity and respect’, as suggested by the Health Service Ombudsman in the recent official report

It was Care services minister Paul Burstow who said "We need a culture where poor practice is challenged’. That is exactly what we intend to do...the detailed complaint is on its way!

Story from nhs.uk


Response from Queen Elizabeth I I Hospital 9 years ago
Queen Elizabeth I I Hospital
Submitted on 15/06/2011 at 18:50
Published on nhs.uk on 16/06/2011 at 04:00

While very disappointed to learn of your experience and that of your mother while at the QEII recently, we note that you have sent in a complaint. This latter step is something we very much welcome, because by the sounds of things the whole of your mother's care deserves to be investigated in full so that you get a detailed account of what happened and why, as well as an apology where sub-standard care is unearthed.

Not only is this the right thing to do, it is very important to correct anything uncovered during the investigative process. Anything less would not be acceptable, either to us, or more importantly, to you and your family. While we can’t undo the experience, we trust that you will find the handling of your complaint does give you some assurance as to how seriously we take such experiences.

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