"Today I have seen the best & worst of the NHS"

About: Broomfield Hospital / Older people's healthcare North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

(as a relative),

I will start with the best. I am 67 years old and recently suffered with inflammation of the gall bladder, I had an ultra sound which confirmed that I had gall stones. This evening I had an appointment, under the N.H.S. at a private hospital in very comfortable surroundings. I was seen on time, my options were explained to me and it was arranged that I would receive an appointment in July to have my gall bladder removed.

Now for the worst - my 96 year old mother has been in a residential home for a year, which she has never accepted. She has been getting more and more depressed, which I have commented upon but little notice was taken of my concern. About six weeks ago she started choking on food and drink and her G.P. decided that she should have a gastroscopy. I was not happy about this, spoke to the hospital they cancelled the appointment and made her an appointment to see a consultant. Having waited over an hour to see this bloke, who was less than pleasant, he said he would arrange for her to have a barium swallow. The appointment was sent a month after her consultation with him and by this time she was barely able to eat or drink and had lost a considerable amount of weight. I voiced my concern to her G.P. that she could barely swallow anything least of all a barium meal. Her reply was that if they couldn’t do it they would sent her home! She did acknowledge that she was depressed and sent a referral for a psychogeriatrician to see her, but, of course, didn’t know when that would be. She was taken to the hospital for a 9 o'clock barium swallow, but, of course, it was not possible for her to take this and she was sent home. However, the manager of the home had a phone call this morning from the aforementioned consultant to say that she was dehydrated and to get her to the hospital through the emergency admission ward where she would be put on a drip for a couple of days. My husband and I took her, no message had been left by this consultant, there did not appear to be a file which would have provided some continuity. My mother was slumped in a wheel chair for 4 hours and eventually given a bed. As I saw the time was getting nearer to my own appointment, as nobody knew why she was there, I wrote everything down. As we left she was seen by two very efficient nurses who were very sympathetic and said they would sort everything. When I arrived home a sister telephoned me to say that they had tested her swallowing, there was nothing wrong with it and felt her difficulties were caused by depression. What a shambles all this has been. I feel my mother could have been spared so much suffering, if only I had been listened to in the first place!

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