"disgusting treatment of an elderly person"

About: East Surrey Hospital

My mother slipped of her bed at home and the ambulance staff decided to take her to East Surrey as she is 83 and had complained of a numb left arm. She has had TIA's in the past and we have been advised nothing more can be done, she is on Warfarin to help. On arrival at A&E my Mum was seen by a doctor after about 30 mins. She was booked to have a CT scan of head and chest x ray though no chest pain reported. She had the scan at 7.00pm so 2 hours after arriving. Then sent back to A&E. We were advised she would be admitted even though they could see no evidence of any bleed in the brain and my Mum was talking normally and responding very well to questions. She was taken to AMU at 9.00pm and we left her there quite happy. I visited at 2pm the following day to be horrified at how my Mum was. She was frightened and didnt know what was happening. She was terribly confused and kept telling me she had something tied around her neck that hurt. It would appear that someone said she had a fractured neck and needed a brace. After putting this on her with no explanation they then took it off a few hours later as she didnt have a fracture!!! My Mum also has dementia and no one was treating her with the respect and care that she needs. She was rambling and not making any sense. I also found her dinner tray by the bed having not been eaten and no drink given. My Mum needs prompting to eat and drink, no one had bothered to help her. She is diabetes and regular meals and fluids are important. My Mum kept asking to come hone. When I asked a nurse what was happening and why was my mum like this she said she didnt know, maybe I should speak to a doctor. I waited 1.5 hours with no one bothering to come back and see if I had seen anyone. I decided to go and get my brother so he could see what was happening to our Mum. When we got back at 6pm she was worse, she was seeing things and very confused. Whilst I was talking to a nurse about her and pointing out my concerns my Mum started to try and climb the wall thinking it was stairs and the nurse just watched her do it. When I asked her why she was not helping her she said "well I am talking to you". All in all I was very worried about leaving my Mum there when I had to go home. I hope when I go there today things are better. To be honest I dont think they will be. Please be very careful when you go to this hospital, in fact try and make sure you never have to go there.

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Response from Ben Mearns, Chief of Medicine, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

picture of Ben Mearns

Dear Worried

Thank you for your feedback. It all sounds very frightening and I would like to look into this as a matter of urgency. I am very sorry for your experience and you should have total confidence in our ability to care for your mother. We offer specialist care for elderly patients and this should always be caring, compassionate and of high quality.

If you are able to send me your mother's details and the ward where this happened I will get back to you as soon as possible. My email address is: ben.mearns@sash.nhs.uk.

If you would prefer to speak to our PALS (Patient Advice & Liaison Service) then you can do so via switchboard on 01737 768511.

Many thanks

Dr Ben Mearns

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Response from Stroke Association, Stroke Association

We noticed your post and thought you may be interested to hear about the work of the Stroke Association and how we may be able to support you. Stroke Association is the leading charity in the UK changing the world for people affected by stroke.

Our Stroke Helpline is there for anyone who has been affected by stroke in any way. You may want to know more about stroke and its effects, be looking for practical information and support, or simply someone to talk to. The Stroke Helpline is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm on 0303 30 33 100. You can also email us at info@stroke.org.uk. We also have a range of services across the UK, providing information, advice and support to stroke survivors and their families. You can find out if there is a service in your area by contacting the Helpline.

We were sorry to hear of your stroke and that you feel you did not receive good care. It sounds as though the hospital is willing to look into your concerns but if you are still unhappy, it may be helpful to contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). PALS is an independent organisation, there to ensure that the NHS listens to patients, their relatives, carers and friends, answers their questions and resolves their concerns as quickly as possible. You can telephone PALS at East Surrey Hospital 01737 231958 / 01293 600399 or email them at pals@sash.nhs.uk

Finally, you can also find lots of information about stroke on our website at www.stroke.org.uk. You can read about our services, read or listen to other people’s experiences and download all of our publications free of charge. There is news about our campaigns to improve services for stroke survivors, national and local events and our research programmes. You can also join the Talkstroke discussion group where you can share your experiences with other people who have been affected by stroke.

I hope that this is helpful and that you are now getting the support that you need to make the best recovery possible.

Stroke Information Service


Stroke Association staff are not medically trained and the information provided does not replace information given to you by your own healthcare provider.

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