"Assembly-line Treatment of Patients"

About: Northwick Park Hospital

My wife was admitted to Northwick Park Hospital a few years ago with the early symptoms of necrosis of the jaw. Although she was recovering from hip surgery she was able to walk with a stick with minimal assistance and - on the advice of her consultant from another hospital - had been taking daily walks to help with the healing process. Northwick Park Hospital assessed the fact that she needed two nurses to help her from the bed to the bathroom but the night-staff cut corners and provided only one who managed to drop her in the early morning hours. When I tried to find out the details of this accident on some hours later I was told that her files had already been moved to the patient archive and were no longer accessible because they were going to discharge her the following day. The injury that they had done to my wife meant that she could no longer walk but the Physiotherapist claimed that she could and refused to allocate any remedial physiotherapy after her release from hospital. It was quite obvious to me that my wife could not walk in spite of their claims and so I asked to speak to the Senior Physiotherapist and was told that she was in full support of the original assessment and that was that. My wife never walked again and her quality of life was totally destroyed. Her inability to walk had been recorded and verified by other hospitals but Northwick Park Hospital continually refused to accept any responsibilty for her fall or for the false assessment that their Physiotherapist provided at the time in an effort to cover up the accident and to escape any form of liability. We were not seeking any form of legal redress - only some ongoing physiotherapy sessions which were denied to us. Our experience of "the system" at Northwick Park Hospital was that it ran as an assembly line and was more concerned with their ratings than with real patient care. As a business I am sure it runs efficiently, remains profitable and knows how to manage its public image but for patients and the family and friends of those who receive the cold and impersonal treatment there the experience can be a nightmare with long-term consequences. The irony is that the government views such monolithic corporate entities as "centres of excellence" simply because they know how to look good "on paper". I would strongly advise concerned families to seek alternative hospitals for their loved ones and - if that is not possible - to ensure that they have the telephone number of the local PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) office

Story from NHS Choices

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››