"CCU end of life care - thank you for all you did..."

About: City Hospital (Birmingham)

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my mother (age 78) died in CCU a month ago, after many years of treatment (of varying quality) in City Hospital. 5 years ago CCU nursed her back from the brink - she was on a ventilator for 3 weeks. This time she was much weaker, and, knowing what to expect, was clear that she did not want to continue with a poor quality of life. Once again the unit's staff were all fantastic. They listened to us, explained everything, found time to laugh and joke with mum and the family. They were absolutely clear about the impact of refusing 'heroic measures and the paliative nursing team were brought in. Mum's death was a peaceful and dignified as a hospital setting could allow, and we all felt genuiniely cared for by the staff.

The differences between now and 5 yerars ago? They were doing all this with a much reduced staff. Some how managing to give the essential care, but the strain was showing (for the staff). When mum was admitted to A&E in the early hours of the morning the resucitation unit was struggling to save 3 admissions with a single team on duty. Still they apologies for keeping me waiting, for not being able to keep me up to date. When I talked to the staff nurse about how hard they were working she burst into tears and talked about her fear of failing her staff and patients - trying to do more with less all the time.

Why are we letting this happen to the NHS? I don't want a 'choice' - I want skilled compassionate staff who feel valued, who are there in a crisis and have the resources to to what is needed. How long before we are all left at the door of A&E intil we produce a credit card?

Thank you, City Hospital, for how you have cared for my mum over the years - there have been some low moments, but there has also been wonderful nursing care and excellent medical treatment.

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Response from City Hospital

Dear Suzette, I am sorry to hear about your mother but glad that you are pleased with the quality of care she received on CCU. It is very reassuring to hear about the wonderful nursing care and excellent medical treatment she received. We are currently recruiting more nurses and doctors in A&E but are finding it difficult to fill the vacancies. The way we admit patients into our hospitals through A&E is the subject of a major piece of work we are embarking on and I hope we can make things better for patients and improve staff morale over the coming months. Toby Lewis, Chief Executive

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