"Unnecessary distress for my elderly mother"

About: Darent Valley Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as a relative),

After a fall breaking her femur, my mother had the most wonderful care in this hospital, absolutely faultless. After a few days recovery she was advised she would be moving to Livingstone Hospital for rehabilitation, she understood this but given no date.

The next day, my sister was visiting and with no warning an orderly came in, stripped her bed and started washing it! When questioned, my mother was told she was going to the next hospital. My mother, who is in her 80s, went straight into panic mode thinking she was going immediately and my sister started packing her things. She became very unsettled. She was then told she would be going by ambulance about 6.00 pm this was at approx 5.00 pm.

My mum eventually told my sister to go home as there was no more to be done other than wait. Several times in the evening myself and my sister took turns telephoning Darent Valley to see if she had left. At approx 8.45 pm, we found it very distressing to find out she was still there. At 9.00 pm I was told she had gone to Livingstone.

The next day I visited my mum at Livingstone at 3.00 pm to find out she had arrived half an hour earlier! It turned out that my mum and another patient had been taken to Livingstone and after some waiting were told there were no beds and taken back to Darent Valley and eventually settled for the night at approx 11.00 pm. The other patient is in their 90s! My mum and the other lady were absolutely shattered. All this could have been avoided by a phone call between the hospitals to check the bed situation!

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Response from Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust

Dear Ms Brown

We were very sorry to read of the distressing time your mother had whilst being transferred from Darent Valley Hospital to Livingstone. We fully appreciate how upsetting this must have been for her and we offer our sincere apologies. The delay was unfortunately caused by NSL Patient Transport Service (PTS) the transportation company we use, but please be assured we have raised our concerns with them about this unacceptable delay.

Thank you for also mentioning that the care your mother received whilst at Darent Valley Hospital was faultless and we do hope that she is recovering well.

Kind regards

The Communication Team

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Update posted by Julie Brown (a relative)

Thank you very much for your response, sadly these days we feel our worries are falling on deaf ears! As long as this problem has been passed on, we feel we have done our best so this doesn't happen again, especially to elderly people who are out of their comfort zone anyway.

Our mother has settled at Livingstone and is receiving good care once more.

We appreciate this communication process, it is a very useful website. Thank you.