"Ambulance dispatched to Emergency Call"

About: South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

(as a relative),

My wife recently received a phone call from a member of an ambulance crew from South West Ambulance Service.

He allegedly stated that he was currently in attendance at the residence of my mother. He then, allegedly, proceeded to question my wife as to why my mum didn't have a Personal Care Alarm and questioned her in detail as to why didn't we visit her or telephone her.

My wife explained that she herself was disabled and that I was her primary carer and that in any case, we lived 250 miles away. She explained, also, that my mother refused to speak to her, as has been the case for the last 20 or so years.

At this point, I entered the house and my wife, who was by now in a certain amount of distress, handed me the phone. He then proceeded to pose similar questions to me and didn't appear to accept the fact that my mother had broken contact with me many years ago and rebuked me for the fact that I didn't visit my mother or maintain contact with her.

At this point, I should, however, applaud him for the fact that he was obviously concerned for my mother's welfare and felt that she should, A: be in a Carehome or at least B: have a personal alarm to call for assistance if she needed it. I cannot fault him for showing that concern.

I do, however, feel that he could and should have been, less accusatory and rather more sensitive in the manner he used to speak to me and, in particular, to my wife, bearing in mind that he didn't know us or indeed our personal circumstances.

I "bit my tongue" rather than remonstrate with him and agreed that I would conduct further enquiries with regard to getting my mother into a care home. I informed him that I have, actually, in the past, tried to arrange this, but without success. On the occasion that I did attempt to discuss the matter with my mother, she dismissed it out of hand and became very angry with me for mentioning it!

I have also discussed the matter, even just recently with the Complex Care Team and the Acute Medical Unit, R D and E Hospital. to which my mother was admitted last month.

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Response from Peter Brain, Volunteer, Healthwatch Devon

Dear 'GAK'

The comments and responses on the web-site of Patient Opinion are shared with us at Healthwatch.

Thank you for following up this difficult exchange. Clearly we cannot comment on family relationships, but at Healthwatch we are building a picture of the provision of services in Devon and these comments should help the NHS and other providers develop and improve their services.

If you wish to discuss this or any health or social care issue with us in confidence, including seeking advice or information about services, please call 0800 520 0640, or email info@healthwatchdevon.co.uk or go on-line to www.healthwatchdevon.co.uk.

Yours sincerely

Peter Brain

Healthwatch Devon is the consumer champion for Health and Social Care in Devon.

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Response from Sara Coburn, Patient Engagement Manager, Governance, South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust

Good Afternoon GAK

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I hope that your mother is feeling better.

I am pleased that you felt reassured by the actions that the ambulance clinicians were taking with regards to caring for your mother, however I am sorry that you felt the tone in which this information was shared with you was accusatory.

It is difficult for me to comment in full on the actions of the ambulance clinicians involved in your mother's care, however, we would be very happy to review this for you. If you would like us to do this, please contact our Patient Experience Team on either swast.patientexperience@nhs.uk or 01392 261 585 and a member of the team will be very pleased to talk you through the process.

Thank you, again, for taking the time to provide our service with feedback.

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