"Elderly relative discharged at weekend"

About: Western General Hospital / General Surgery

(as a relative),

My elderly uncle was in the Western General in Edinburgh for most of this last week. Admitted because of blood test results. He lives alone, has blepheritis which causes him some distress - he also has mental health and other long term problems/issues including prostate (has been sent home with a catheter) and he has osteo-athritis.

I am his next of kin, and have power of attorney for him - and I live an hour and half's drive away. I rang the hospital every day and asked that I be called if he was to be discharged over the weekend so that I could go up and see him settled back and get him some basic foodstuffs.

He has a home-help for two hours every Tuesday which he pays for himself as he didn't want any Social Work interference and didn't want different people coming in and out daily. He is far from well off but manages to pay for this.

I was not called and the first I knew he was home was when he called my mobile and left a message this afternoon. There was nothing I could do today. I will go tomorrow with basic supplies for him. He had no milk or bread and most of the food in his fridge had gone off. Goodness knows what he had to eat and drink today.

When I phoned and asked about the lack of phonecall and the catheter I was told they had been too busy to phone me and that he had had the"education" for dealing with the catheter and seemed to manage!

I am absolutely disgusted. They kept assuming he had a big "package of care" which he does not. Seriously someone in their 80s with multiple issues and a painful eye condition etc! Putting an old man out not knowing if he will eat? Assume he will manage the catheter? Is this what the NHS has come to?

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Response from Customer Relations and Feedback Team, NHS Lothian

Dear bordersgirl57

I am very concerned to read your post and this is certainly not the service we strive to achieve. I would like the opportunity to discuss this with you as it is important that we learn from feedback.

If you would like to contact Margaret Fraser, Manager of the Customer a Relations and Feedback a team on 0131 536 3370 or email me at craft@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk I can look into this for you.

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Update posted by bordersgirl57 (a relative)

Firstly, thank you for taking the time to respond. Secondly, I have no intention of making this an official complaint simply because I do not have the mental and emotional energy to do so.

It was of course a Bank Holiday weekend which compounded the issue.

When I arrived with supplies on Sunday morning I found a District Nurse with my uncle as he had called NHS 24 as he could not manage the catheter. She too seemed horrified at the way he had been treated.

He had had nothing to eat since he arrive home on Saturday except a small bowl of cereal after his neighbour gave him some milk. It was truly pathetic to see him wolf down the two ham rolls and mug of chicken soup that I made him.

He is not someone who expects much from life, or the NHS, but I find this incident utterly unacceptable as he is a vulnerable old man with many needs. I spoke to him today and he says is managing the catheter, but in all honesty I find that extraordinary. Well done him if he is but I doubt it.

Do get in touch if you have any questions and thank you again for your interest.

Response from Customer Relations and Feedback Team, NHS Lothian

Dear bordersgirl57

Thank you for taking the time to post again and also for emailing me personally. I will pass your feedback on to the Clinical Management Team at the Western General to allow them to learn from your comments.

I do hope your uncle is now making a full recovery.

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