"My Mother is bed blocking through no fault of her own"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Accident and emergency East Surrey Hospital / General medicine West Sussex

(as a relative),

I would first of all like to say that you have amazing staff from the cleaner up to the nurse. I do not have an issue with how under extreme circumstances they all manage to provide a service to the best of their ability with the tools they have been given.

My mother came in after a serious fall at home on in mid-March 2015. My mother and I spent the night in A&E as there was a 16 hour wait for a bed. My mother was then transferred to the Medical Escalation Ward, which I understand is not a Ward, but the old day care centre. This was due to the fact that there were not any beds available in the hospital.

The Duty Social Worker became involved to ensure that my mother went home with some sort of Care Package in place. This is to reduce the risk of further falls and in the long run will cut down how many times my mother would be admitted to hospital.

My Mother was then transferred to the Discharge lounge a week or so later. This was exciting for my mother as she had been diagnosed as medically fit and therefore is ready to go home.

This is where it has all gone dreadfully wrong. The Duty Social Worker tried to put in place the RISS team at home for my mother, they declined. The Duty Social Worker then tried a referral to Medicare, they declined. My Mother spent two days in the Discharge lounge. The Duty Social Worker tried to think out side of the box and went to the Commissioner to ask if she could put a Care Package in place through funding from West Sussex County Council and she sourced a care agency where my mother lives (Hayward's Heath). This meant my mother could have gone home as carers would be in place at home.

The Duty Social Worker was informed that she could not use this process as she is Duty Social worker who deals with short term, as in putting RISS Team in place and that the only way a permanent care package could be put in place is by the Community Social Worker as it is a long term process.

Instead of my mother going home she has now been moved back to the Medical Escalation Ward.

My Mother Currently is still on the Medical Escalation Ward and to be honest is very upset and is becoming depressed. My Mother just wants to go home. My Mother is a very independent lady and over the last 30 years has gone to hell and back. She is disabled through a brain tumour and broken back, arthritis, osteoporosis. She is only 67 years old and to have to go through this is terrible for her.

The reason she ended up at East Surrey Hospital and not one in her own area is because Princess Royal declined her and she refused to go to Brighton Hospital because of the treatment she was given 7 years ago when she broke her back. She is frightened of the staff at Brighton hospital and I really can not blame her.

My Mother due to her disability would not be able to type or write to be able to put down on paper what she feels, so as her daughter I am her advocate. I would really like some feedback and from there we will be able to decide what we can do to stop this situation happening to any one else.

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


Response from Tasha Gardner, Communications Manager, Marketing and Communications, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear cfry

I am really sorry to read your comments and that your mother is upset and depressed, a horrible position for her to be in and one I am anxious to try and help sort out. As you know Patient Opinion comments are anonymous so if you would like to get in touch with me at Tasha.gardner@sash.nhs.uk I can look into this.

Best wishes


  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful

Response from Ben Mearns, Chief of Medicine, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust We are preparing to make a change

picture of Ben Mearns

Dear cry

Thank you for letting us know and I am terribly sorry that your mother is suffering as a result of these delays. I will do everything that I can to help.

The system process that you describe is one that unfortunately I know well and is not ultimately designed to focus on the patient. If it did then she would have what she needs by now and be on her way. I hope that it is some comfort to you that I do know that the system is incorrect now and indeed only yesterday was pitching a new idea to make the system work for patients when they need it. It is a problem of a lack of integration and I am passionate about fixing it. Your comments will enthuse me to go faster.

If you are able to email me on Ben.mearns@sash.nhs.uk I would be grateful to use your experiences and those of your mother as a focal point to make the case to change the complex systems and build a better, more simple way of serving our patients seamlessly with our community colleagues.

I will also send the medical team to the ward today to see if there is anything that they can do to make your mother's stay more comfortable and to speed up her discharge.

Thank you for raising this as your feedback directly improves our services.

Kindest regards

Dr Ben Mearns

Clinical Lead for Acute & Elderly Medicine

  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful

Response from Ben Mearns, Chief of Medicine, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust We have made a change

picture of Ben Mearns

Dear cfry

Just a quick update to let you know that one of our Consultants is on the ward now and they are going to inform social services that we require the care at home to be arranged as soon as possible. Unfortunately this will likely be early next week but I have asked our site manager to let them know that the delay is causing distress and if this can happen sooner that would be our wish.

We will do our best to assist with speeding this up and will ensure that we review the processes next week to ensure that all involved understand the effect these days can have.

Many thanks

Dr Ben Mearns

Clinical Lead for Acute & Elderly Medicine

  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful