"Poor Communication disrupting my father-in-law's care"

About: Epsom Hospital / General surgery St Helier Hospital

(as a relative),

My father in law is currently in Epsom Hospital. He has pancreatic cancer and is very weak. Just recently he has had a number of aggressive infections. The treatment he received recently was terrible. He was transferred to St Helier at 09:00am for a scan. Transport to bring him back to Epsom was booked for 2pm as the ward had been told her would be around 4 hours. He was taken to ward B4 at St Helier but they had no record of him. They then found out it was C4. He sat on C4 until 11:00am when he was given an injection. When he asked what time he would be having his scan he was told abruptly 3:00pm. So when his transport turned up at 2:00pm as booked it was turned away. By 3:30pm he was ready to go back to Epsom Hospital but for the next hour and a half the nurses at St Helier were unable to get a response from Epsom. At 5:00pm the nurses agreed to letting me (his daughter in law) pick him up and take him back to Epsom instead of waiting.

During this time he missed ALL his medication (multiple antibiotics to treat his infection and cancer drugs as well as ones to control his diabetes.)

He was also unable to get proper food during this time. He cannot eat bread and was meant to take a packed lunch from Epsom but it was not prepared and he was given sandwich which he couldn’t eat. The nurse at St Helier very kindly gave him some lasagne. But after that it was biscuits and water. Not a great day food-wise for a diabetic!

When we arrived back at Epsom Hospital at 5:45pm he had to walk the length of the hospital from the car park and by the time we arrived back at his room he was exhausted and drained.

Sister on the ward told us that transport did turn up around 5pm but they couldn’t find him anywhere (Apparently they had gone to B4) but I arrived at 5:15pm and there was no sign of them so god only knows where they were and what they were doing.

There are a couple of issues here which need to be addressed.

1) Why was he taken to St Helier at 09:00am if he wasn't going to be treated until 3pm?

2) Why was his transport not rebooked when it became clear that he was not going to be seen until after the booking time?

3) Why were St Helier unable to contact Epsom to rearrange transport?

4) If the first transport booking knew to come back to C4 why didn’t the second and why did it take so long?

Seriously not impressed! What would have happened if he had taken a turn for the worse whilst I was transporting him back to Epsom.....

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Response from Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust

Thank you so much for taking the time to give us feedback about the care your father-in-law received at Epsom and St Helier hospitals. We're really sorry that it's not to the high standard we would expect and we apologise this.

We have passed your comments on to the teams involved in looking after your father-in-law, including patient transport, C4 ward and clinical services (the people who look after scans).

It's difficult to answer your four questions here without more information and, importantly, without breaching the confidentiality of your father-in-law. However, please feel free to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 01372 73 5243 or email pals@esth.nhs.uk if you'd like to get direct answers to each of the questions. You can also contact them online via this weblink: http://www.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk/contact-us/your-feedback/.

Thank you again for taking the time to let us have your feedback.