"Poor communications and care failures"

About: Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary / Cardiology Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary / Rehabilitation

(as a carer),

Husband was admitted to DGRI Dumfries on the evening of 6th. On 7th staff at the assessment unit were given a copy of his Cardiology outpatients appointment also at DGRI for 11th. The ward staff would liaise with Cardiology.

On 8th he was transferred to ward D7 room 18. Staff here were also informed of the Cardiology appt.

On 11th I arrived at the ward around 1000. He was brighter. He was sitting in bed attempting to take his tablets from a small medicine pot. Some of them had spilled over the bed covers … he has dexterity difficulties. I helped him take them with his dilute squash. Later I advised a nurse (and later a junior doctor) that, in my absence, my husband would need staff help to take his meds. On 12th a nurse had indeed helped him with his meds. However, on 13th, the pot was there full of untaken tablets. He was reluctant to take them. He was demoralised which is understandable. He had steadily deteriorated in his time in hospital with no sign of a meaningful diagnosis.

Back on 11th, I had reminded various staff of my husband's Cardiology appt. At 1430 I spoke to nurse to ask what the plan was for the appt. The nurse was unclear as to whether he would go over to Cardiology or staff would come to see him. They kindly offered to phone Cardiology to find out. The response was that they didn’t take in-patients at the out-patients dept and that usually the appt would be rebooked for a later date. I told the nurse that this was not acceptable as we had already waiting 3 months for this Cardiology appt. The nurse called that dept back to express to them my concern. The response was that my husband would have an ‘echo’ test of his heart on the ward the following day and from that the ward doctors would liaise with Cardiology.

On 12th had visits from the physiotherapists and the consultant. The consultant explained that a previous xray of his stomach may have indicated a possible retention of gas so he would have a CT scan of the same area that day. At 1600 a junior doctor came to put a cannula in his arm ready for the scan. The doctor said they were in a hurry as the porters were on their way to collect him. At 1700 the porters had not arrived and meals were being handed out. I explained to the clinical assistant that my husband was expecting to go for a scan. It was unclear as to whether he should eat or not but decided it was better to miss dinner just in case. By 1845 nothing had happened to I asked 2 nurses who said they didn’t think the scan would be happening today due to the late time. Also the porter had arrived but there was an issue with the wrong type of bed or trolley?

The fact that no-one had told us that there were problems is unacceptable. We had both psyched ourselves up for 2 tests that day but none were going to happen. I expressed my dissatisfaction with this to the senior junior doctor on duty at 1000 the following day, 13th. I also was concerned about my husband's very poor liquid intake and risk of dehydration, especially in view of the haematologist’s 2012 instruction that his blood meds required that he takes lots of fluids. Apparently there are no longer key workers or nurses in charge of particular patients.

It has been very frustrating watching my husband decline and at the same time be fighting for him to have the care that he deserves. I realise staff are stretched but, down the line, it could be them or their loved ones in his position.


Response from Annette Finnigan, Senior Patient Experience & Safety Officer, Acute and Diagnostic Services Directorate, NHS Dumfries and Galloway

Dear squeaky13,

I am sorry to hear of your husband's experience in DGRI and I thank you for bringing this to our attention. It is disappointing to hear that we have not provided the high level of care that we would expect our teams to provide to all of our patients.

If you would be prepared to contact our Patient Experience & Safety Team directly on either 01387 241690 or via dumf-uhb.acutecomplaints@nhs.net we would like to look at this in more detail.

Regards, Annette

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