"An appalling experience over a few months, which..."

About: University Hospital Of North Durham

What could be improved

The treatment my husband received. He was treated as if he did not count. He was sent in because he was bed-ridden and had a urine infection. He had previously had a brain tumour removed at RVI and was waiting to have radiotherapy at the Freeman. He began to be very confused and had difficulty speaking. On the day he was to go to the Freeman for a scan he was found on the floor in his own faeces. When I arrived at 09.30 I was told that he was confused and that he could not go to the Freeman as there was Norovirus on the ward. He did not have it. He was on the floor because he had been shouting for a nurse as he could not use his buzzer. He heard 3 nurses talking at the nurses station, so got out of bed and on the floor to crawl to the nurses station to get attention.

I went into the ward every day to help him eat as he could not cope himself and the system does not work.

A man opposite him had only a few spoonfuls of soup every meal because he could not feed himself. His food was brought on a red tray, then the tray taken away, so none of the nurses could tell that he needed help with feeding.

Anything else?

When I left the ward to go and get some lunch for myself, the visitors to the other patients were usually waiting outside. None of them knew that if someone needs help to eat, then they could go in and help. That is written in the ward information on the internet, but not conveyed to the visitors. I was my husband's carer, and looked this up on the internet.

My husband has since died of his cancer. He died at home because he had written on his notes that under no circumstances would he be admitted to hospital again because of the treatment he had received at UHND.

When he went into UNHD in September, having been sent there by his GP because she thought he was having a TIA, he was nearly sent home again by the doctor, because he thought he was taking up a bed unnecessarily. Ken could not tell him what was the matter, and talked about his cerebellar ataxia. It was only because Ken had phoned me to take some more insulin in that I overheard this conversation. My intervention meant that Ken had a scan and the brain tumour was then discovered. He was operasted on the next week at the RVI.

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Response from University Hospital Of North Durham

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for providing feedback on your husband Ken's recent admission to University Hospital of North Durham. I hope you can accept my condolences for your loss.

I am very sorry to hear that you were unhappy with his care at such a difficult time.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your concerns with you. If you feel this would be useful please contact the Trust’s Patient Experience Team on 0800 7835774. If you would prefer to contact us by e-mail, our address is complaints@cddft.nhs.uk

Alternatively, you can write to us at the following address: -

Patient Experience Team

Darlington Memorial Hospital

Hollyhurst Road


County Durham


If you do decide to contact us, please make us aware that you have left comments on the NHS Choices website.

The Trust is grateful for all feedback, positive or negative, as it means we can better understand what is important to our patients and your comments will be shared with the relevant staff.

Thank you for leaving your comments on NHS Choices.

Patient Experience Team

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

Tel: 0800 7835774