"Transferring a dying patient at night is not..."

About: Pilgrim Hospital

My 100 year old relative was brought to A&e on Friday night suffering from severe abdominal pain and bleeding.she was treated very kindly by the staff on A&e and Cdu,but unfortunately we were told nothing more could be done for her and she would be transferred to Skegness hospital for palliative care.we were told the time she would be transferred depended on the transport available however she would not be moved after 1900 .my relative passed away early this morning and I was told she did not arrive at Skegness until 2100 last night and was cold when she got there.as she was late arriving she was not seen by a doctor at Skegness which has caused issues with death certification and may lead to an unnecessary post Mortem on someone who was 100 years old.as my relatives death was imminent,surely the kindest thing would have been to allow her to remain at pilgrim instead of dragging her out in the cold and driving her 24 miles to Skegness? I understand the hospital is always short of beds but it looks like once you've reached the stage that nothing more can be done for you they want your bed and will boot you out whatever your age or time of night. What was already a distressing time has been made so much worse thanks to this and a formal complaint will be made...so much for dying with dignity..

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Response from Sharon Kidd, Patient Experience and Engagement Manager, Patient Experience, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

picture of Sharon Kidd

It was really sad to read your posting and we are so sorry, it has clearly been a very distressing time and made the more so because of the difficulties with the transfer to Skegness. Please be assured that the transfer for palliative care at Skegness was not because of bed pressures – but because the service at Skegness is specifically focused on palliative and end of life care – rather than a busy acute hospital, and we worked jointly with the Skegness ‘in-reach’ team to make the transfer as swift and as gentle as possible. When transfers are planned we do all we can to manage transport times sensitively though sometimes we do struggle with availability and clearly this was the case with your relative; however we are looking across Pilgrim Hospital how we can safeguard against any late ward moves or transfers as we acknowledge it is distressing for patients and families as well as in some cases clinically inappropriate. I am also really sorry to hear your relative was cold on arrival to Skegness – that should not be the case, ever, and the team on CDU are aware of your feedback and will ensure that both the staff on the ward and the transport staff double check whether blankets provided are sufficient.

Please once again accept our sincere apologies but also our thanks for leaving your feedback which is extremely valuable to us, helping us to look where we did not get things right and work to improve on them. I note you have said you will be making a formal complaint; we will do all we can to help resolve this and answer your concerns; please do not hesitate to contact pals@ulh.nhs.uk if you need any support in the meantime.

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