"Mother's treatment at Blackpool Victoria Hospital"

About: Blackpool PCT / District nursing Blackpool Victoria Hospital / General surgery North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust

(as a relative),

Saturday afternoon and the beginning of Feb - called ambulance after finding my 75 year old mother, usually alert and mobile (though slow because of recent operation to remove skin carcanoma related to Bohns disease)

Excellent response - I must have sounded panicked as the 999 telephonist stayed on the line with me until firstly a rapid response man arrived - closely followed by 2 paramedics and ambulance.

On arrival at hospital - things started to go wrong

The booking in system though tedious and long did get lots of information - my mother was at this time semi conscious - barely able to sit up in the ambulance chair and just about totally unresponsive -

Firstly - the decision was made to give my mother a gp appointment rather than go to a & e - the ambulance people suggested this would mean we would not have the usual long wait at a & e - - we sat and waited with mum barely conscious and still in the chair and were seen by a gp as promised - who could see immediately that mum was extremely dehydrated and had a high temperature - at this time we were thinking it might possibly be a urine infection - or even that mum had taken too many of her painkillers !

GP decision was that mum be admitted for tests to find out what was wrong -

Secondly - we waited in a public area until the practice nurse on duty (approx between 2 and 3pm and the man behind the desk took pity and moved us and mum into a private (unused overflow ward) - the practice nurse and the clerical officer then took charge and rang many times to try to get a bed so mum could be admitted - in the meantime got a trolley and with help from nurse got her more comfortable - no bed available despite the best these 2 staff members could do -

advice - to go back through a & e - that meant literally starting again - however this was the only 'choice'

Mid afternoon on a Saturday in a & e- not too busy - apart from the old people on various trolleys and in wheelchairs – It seemed to me that the only ones getting any attention were those lucky enough (like mum) to have family/friends accompanying them.

We were put in a bay and told we would be seen by a doctor soon - time now approx 3.30pm

I am amazed how many staff (green scrubs and a stethoscope around neck - does that mean you are a doctor on duty?) there were at any one time sitting in front of computers, milling about and talking to each other and the other members of staff in various colour uniforms - dark blue, light blue - how are you supposed to know who to go to? Some of the staff didn’t event make eye contact with the patients.

I saw someone (member of public) that I knew with another elderly patient and she suggested I approach the charge nurse - she knows because she is at a & e a lot with this elderly relative - sure enough he was approachable - when asked for a bed pan he said he would sort it out which he did - - however this was not really getting us what we really needed -

a doctor

a bed

a diagnosis

By 6pm a nurse had unsuccessfully tried to take blood from mum -

someone had tried to get her to take some pills

I was joined by another member of the family - this made 3 of us and together we stood in front of the main desk in a & e - and after standing our ground - a doctor came in - and things started to happen - blood tests and at last - fluid - a drip -

this 75 year old woman - found severely dehydrated at 12.30pm was given fluid via a drip some 6+ hours after arriving at hospital.

At 9pm eventually admitted to cdu - excellent treatment and staff - as one would expect -

Sunday - mum totally unresponsive - and asked (not for the first time) if she was 'always like this' - the staff did take notice of my response when a told them I had been to collect mum the previous day to go shopping - so no she was not 'always like this'

Next day - Monday - moved to Ward 8 - really excellent staff again - mum in isolation ward - still not sure why - something to do with her having mrsa - but this didn’t seem to matter the day before or all the time we were in a & e!

We found out sometime during the week that the infection was in the leg where the operation wound was - the wound being treated - dressed three times per week by district nurses - how could they not see on Friday that there was a problem ? This is a topic of a further complaint.

The story could have had a happy ending here as my mum received excellent treatment during the time on cdu and Ward 8 - intravenous antibiotics to clear infection -the staff were also visible and willing to talk to me and other members of the family visiting during the week.

Thirdly - mum discharged 11 days later - leg with wound - red and puffed up but mum satisfied that antibiotics had done their job - because the doctors and nurses seemed satisfied that she was ready to go home

I was not so sure - by weekend foot was red and warm - skin tight - district nurses had been out on Friday - no comment about possible infection - but I could see with my inexpert eye that things were not right-

Monday , after being seen again by a district nurse who would not call the gp herself, mum got gp to come out - gp was concerned - as the leg was clearly infected and as gp stated - the last thing we wanted was for mum to have to return to hospital - so finally further antibiotics have been given - not sure if the outcome of the story yet as the tablets have yet to take effect.

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Response from NHS Blackpool

We are extremely sorry that your experience was not what was expected of the Accident and Emergency Department ( A&E ) . We would appreciate the opportunity to learn from this incident and respectfully request you contact our patient Advice and Liaison Service PALS on 01253 655589. The A&E Management team would like to assure you that this will be dealt with in confidence.


A & E Department Coordinator

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