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One retired GP wrote ' I felt ashamed of my profession and cried at your distress'

(94 Posts)
claig Sat 08-Dec-12 13:45:07

Ann Clywd MP asked a question in this week's PMQ and it was very emotional.

It is yet another case of disgusting treatment of patients in our hospitals. Why does this continue?

I hope there is an effective campaign that can change such shocking treatment.

picketywick Sat 15-Dec-12 12:05:24

Nurses do have different personalities as you would expect. I suspect the training has been HANDS OFF in recent years.

renaldo Wed 12-Dec-12 10:58:07

And these so called satisfaction surveys are so bogus
I asked for a feedback form at my last OPD appointment - Ii could see other patients handing them in, and wasny given one . I had been waiting over an hour, my notes had been lost and I clearly wast happy so I was'nt given a form!

Dromedary Tue 11-Dec-12 21:46:19

I mentioned that I'd had a very bad experience at hospital with my DC, through really nasty bullying behaviour by a group of nurses. I put in a complaint, which was met by sneers, essentially. The matron in charge of the department very grudgingly acknowledged that the nurses had broken a clear rule about how to treat patients, but simply said that that was not her fault as they had been told what the rule was (no apology, or suggestion that the nurses would be disciplined or re-trained).
Anyway, a long time afterwards I was at a social occasion and mentioned to someone that I had had a bad experience with some nurses at the hospital. The man next to me then announced that he was the person in charge of half the hospital, and that the nurses were all excellent. He didn't ask what the problem had been, simply immediately dismissed that there could have been any problem.
Then went on at length about his extremely high salary and how important it was that it shouldn't be reduced in the cuts...
If the managers won't even conceive of the possibility of there being any problem with their nurses, then what hope for change is there?

HelpOneAnother Tue 11-Dec-12 20:06:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 19:19:35

'if anything, they were changed even less than usual, and that nurse was subsequently quite unpleasant to my mum'

This is how people are bullied by these bullies not to complain in case the treatment gets any worse than it already is.

Good luck with teh complaint process, keep strong and don't be put off by the obstacles they throw in your path. The more we complain and end our silence through fear of making things worse or through no hope in change, the sooner someonme in power will actually do something to stand up for people against a powerful system that mistreats them.

NulliusInBlurba Tue 11-Dec-12 18:51:23

Nursing care within the same hospital can be stunningly good or cruelly inhumane, and it seems to be as much down to the prevailing attitude on a ward as the resources available.

My mum was critically ill this summer (and has since died), and spent two months in hospital, in fact two different hospitals and six wards. One of the two hospitals was the one where Ann Clwyd's husband died, and that was the better of the two. sad

ICU and HDU were obviously superb, but then they had a care ratio of 1 to 1 and 1 to 2. The general ward she was on was clearly understaffed, but the nurses (and one doctor in particular) there were largely compassionate and willing to do their best. The really awful inhumane care was in the general cardiac ward. Due to her condition, my mother had dressings on her leg that needed changing regularly - let's just say there was an enormous amount of liquid coming from them (sorry TMI). The staff were really unbothered about changing them, and left my mother for many many hours laying in wet bandages - the liquid had soaked through her clothes and dressing slippers, so she was lying in the wet. Any time we asked for them to be changed we were told they were too busy, but staff had enough time to collect at the nurses' station and joke around, or indulge in small talk with other patients. This situation went on for several days, and it was clear that lying with smelly wet bandages was not good for an elderly cardiac patient, so I asked the ward sister why this was happening, who accused me of bullying behaviour and said I'd been abusive to her. I found out later from a social worker that this is her standard tactic for dealing with complaints and she has a real reputation for generally not being a very nice person. Oh, and the ward sister said she would get the bandages changed every four hours, but dismally failed to do so - if anything, they were changed even less than usual, and that nurse was subsequently quite unpleasant to my mum. These were some of her last weeks alive, but it was made so much worse by that bitch of a nurse who really just enjoyed power tripping elderly patients.

The hospital where AC's husband was, the Heath in Cardiff, wasn't cruel, but it was massively incompetent. When my mum was transferred back from there to her original hospital she turned up with no paperwork. I was talking to one of her doctors at the original hospital, having previously spoken to a surgeon at the Heath, and the doctor was relying on me to give him all the necessary medical information! The conversation went along these lines:
Him: So the doctor said they would be recommending medical management rather than surgical intervention?
Me: Yes, I think that's what was said.
Him: Did he say what medications would be best?
Me: erm...

After my mum died I bought three box of chocolates and gave them to the staff on the three wards where she had been treated well, as thanks for their compassion. Needless to say, the cardiac ward got nothing!

I'm also in the middle of an official NHS complaint about the fact that an OOH doctor refused to attend my mother at home, which compounded the severe infection she had developed by delaying her treatment for a whole day. It quite possibly contributed towards her death. We rejected the findings of the first enquiry because they contained outright lies (at one point stating that her condition had improved and she was sent home, when actually her condition had deteriorated and she was sent to another hospital). We're still waiting for the findings of the second enquiry.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 18:34:30

Yes, Rindercella, he later died of dehydration. He was just 22 years old.

You are right that there can be absolutely no excuse for this. It is shameful.

We keep reading stories like this and hoping that someone will do something, and nothing seems to be done, it just seems to get worse and worse.

It seesm that people are turning the other way while this happens in our faces.

At Prime Minister's Question Time, you get some questions like "would the Prime Minister join me in praise of teh excellent work done by the lollipop lady in my constituency" and meanwhile people are being left without medication and without water and are dying in our public hospitals.

Enough is enough. No excuses. Something must be done to stop people being treated in such a disgraceful way.

MadSleighLady Tue 11-Dec-12 17:57:52

Oh god, I didn't realise the dehydration thing was a known national problem. It happens to my nan every time she goes in for something like a fall. sad

EdgarAllanPond Tue 11-Dec-12 17:46:46

that was at the same hospital DS1 died at though a year earlier. i wasn't surprised. evidently management do have a wider problem.

Rindercella Tue 11-Dec-12 17:25:16

That young man died didn't he Claig? He was so desperate for a glass of water, he phones 999 as the nursing staff won't help him. And then he dies of dehydration.

What I see from this thread is hcp trying to defend the indefensible. Which makes it worse in my eyes. Just saying, oh sorry about that when hearing of someone's death is not enough you then go on to say, but it's okay because according to a survey 90% of patients are 'satisfied' with their treatment.

Some nursing staff are brilliant. Some others are not. My sil, a former nurse, was absolutely horrified by the treatment she saw of terminally ill patients. No compassion, little knowledge and no care. Just what are they being paid for if they cannot offer all of those things?

I met a woman recently, coincidentally a nurse, whose mother died of cancer three years ago. She was in tears when she recounted how her mother had lost the ability to swallow. A nurse came along and gave her a pill. To swallow. And then left her. This woman came back to her mother's bed and saw her mother choking, unable to swallow and unable to breathe as her airways were blocked by a tablet. She called for nurses, pressed the buzzer and then had to perform the Heimlich maneuver on her mother as no-one came - she could see several of them at the nurses' station, doing nothing. She didn't dare leave her alone after that. As I said, three years later she was racked with sobs while telling me this story.

Eggy, absolutely agree with you on the accountability issue.

EdgarAllanPond Tue 11-Dec-12 13:57:40


I think one way to bring about change is for nurses etc to be held accountable by their peers."

exactly this bumgrapes - culture of accountability, communication and reward.

i have no problems with people who have done wrong being pulled up on it - why should anyone? and also those that provide excellent care should be acknowledged.

and i can tell the difference between a busy nurse - batting back and forth between patients - and one who doesn't care. i saw alot of busy nurses doing their best and a few who really didn't give a toss. maybe if those few had been doing their share the others wouldn't have been so rushed.

EdnaScoggins Tue 11-Dec-12 10:21:59

You are right about the animals, claig.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 00:25:00

Week in, week out we read about elderly people dying of dehydration in wards, and even of one poor young man who was so desperate for a glas sof water that he dialled 999.

If animals were treated like this, the perpetrators would be locked up.

Start prosecuting people for failure to care for patients. That will stamp it out in days.

claig Tue 11-Dec-12 00:17:41

'my daughter asked which of the two patients who had gone into cardiac arrest'

Have you read the disgusting treatment that Ann Clywd's husband received?
There was no 'heart attack' in the hours and hours she sat by her husband's side. This is what happened, in case you have not read it

'‘I saw a nurse in the corridor and asked her why my husband wasn’t in intensive care. She just said, “There are lots worse than him”, and walked on.'

Contempt for the public and we are paying for this contempt. Root out those who are not fit to treat patients and loved ones with respect and train new nurses who are fit for teh job.

‘There was no one observing him. You ask yourself: “Where is everyone? Where are the nurses? Why is no one doing anything?”

Where were they? Were there heart attacks all this while? Of course not.

'But a basic element of good care was missing: compassion.'

'She recalls: ‘Every time I tried to talk to one of the nurses, they were either on the phone or talking to one another.'

What were they talking about, heart attacks?

‘Whenever I asked when we’d see someone, the answer was always: “In a minute.” There was busy-ness, laughter, joking … but nobody addressed our concerns.'

'All this time, I hadn’t been offered a chair or a word of explanation. I’d expected at least some reassurance. But it was as if the nurses were in their little world. There was a feeling of total isolation’

This disgrace is happening all over teh country. This disgrace has been allowed to happen. This disgrace has happened because these nurses feel they are too important to treat patients with respect. Management has allowed this practice to continue. They feel no fear or rebuke, they could ignore Ann Clywd without any worry about their jobs. They have been allowed to get away with it due to management failure and management neglect, and politicians haven't stamped it out.

Ann Clywd will campaign on it and she is speaking for thousands of others who have received similar treatment and who have been ignored and disrespected by those who think that the British public are too unimportant to count.

It can't continue, someone will eventually sort it out.

EdnaScoggins Tue 11-Dec-12 00:02:54

I think also it often comes down to lack of respect for human life. People are seen as no more than objects.

EdnaScoggins Mon 10-Dec-12 23:59:20

I think that instead of any kind of attempt at good customer care, there is a culture of contempt for the "client/customer", which in this case is an ill person, sometimes a very ill one.

I have had countless personal experiences of this. I agree with posts above about how common it is to encounter nurses bitching and laughing about one patient over the ill body of another patient. And I have experienced nurses bitching about another nurse as they wheeled me into surgery. Not very encouraging.

Ann Clywd's story is heartbreaking.

SueDoku Mon 10-Dec-12 23:57:57

'What I'm trying to say is if you're sitting in front of someone who needs a drink why not give them one instead of expecting a nurse (who as some posters have said may not even have time for a loo break) to come and do it?'

Quite. My daughter is a nurse, and a patient's daughter recently screamed at her in the middle of the ward because her mother had been waiting for a drink for 30 mins - my daughter asked which of the two patients who had gone into cardiac arrest (and on whom all the available nurses had been doing CPR) she would have preferred to have been allowed to die so that her mother could have a drink... Priorities have to be decided - and treating a patient in cardiac arrest is at the top - especially when other patients have an able-bodied person with them who can attend to minor needs such as a drink of water. Can you imagine the headlines if one of those cardiac patients had been allowed to die while a nurse fetched a glass of water?

GrimmaTheNome Mon 10-Dec-12 23:49:43

>Survey after surgery shows 90-95% of people who have used the NHS in the last year rated care as satisfactory or very satisfactory, but when you read newspapers or Internet forums all you get is stories like the ones above. Not many of the 95% are talking about their experiences because there was nothing wrong with their care.

That may be the case - but a 5-10% failure rate is not acceptable.

I heard Ann Clywd on R4 a few days ago - it amazed me that she couldn't get satisfactory care for her dying husband - I don't mean by pulling rank as an MP but as a woman assertive and able enough to be elected, if she had problems how many others must?

Part of the issue must be staffing levels - or the wrong mix of staffing, especially on geriatric wards. MIL died recently, in and out between hospital and nursing home till we realised how much better the latter could look after her. They had enough domestic staff to keep everything clean, enough nursing staff to deal with medical issues and loads of 'carers'. Who did what it said on the tin.

claig Mon 10-Dec-12 23:35:14

'who as some posters have said may not even have time for a loo break'

These nurses had time for a loo break alright, but not for basic patient care.

claig Mon 10-Dec-12 23:28:48

Of course she gave him a drink, but that is a job that nurses should be doing. We all pay our taxes to be looked after in hospitals and we all expect nurses to check up on the needs of all patients.

She asked nurses to come over and help, she asked for a less tight oxygen mask, she asked for cover for her husband's feet and she got nothing in return, they said they were "busy", and they said "in aminute" and they did nothing. She said her husband was treated like a battery hen. She said she felt like burning the hospital down.

Disgusting disgrace in our country. Fire the management and warn everybody that there will be legal consequences if this kind of poor treatment is discovered again.

Get it understood that teh patient comes first. Absolutely no excuse for this disgrace in our country.

Angelico Mon 10-Dec-12 23:27:32

These stories make me angry beyond words. What frustrates me is that everyone feels angry but no one seems to know where to begin when it comes to tackling the problem. The only way I can see is for people to complain and sue until it costs hospitals more to pay out compensation than it does to adequately staff wards. Perhaps then they'll see it as cost-saving to pay for proper patient care.

But staff do have to accept some of the blame. I've seen it myself in hospitals - nursing staff hanging out at reception having a good laugh while patients wait for medication and assistance. Everyone wants medical staff to enjoy their job - but not at the expense of patient discomfort.

Finallygotaroundtoit Mon 10-Dec-12 23:20:06

What I'm trying to say is if you're sitting in front of someone who needs a drink why not give them one instead of expecting a nurse (who as some posters have said may not even have time for a loo break) to come and do it?

claig Mon 10-Dec-12 23:16:12

'She also had expectations of doctors being present on the ward most of the time and being around to talk to relatives daily'

If a person is dying, it is not too much to be kept informed by a doctor. If teh doctor can't be present, then they should inform a nurse and ask teh nurse to update teh patient's loved ones.

No excuses for this shocking treatment, and shame on the 'commentator'!

claig Mon 10-Dec-12 23:12:38

What commentator was that? What idiot says such things? She noticed what happened when she was present. Imagine what happened when she wasn't present?

Shame on that commentator. He or she should learn some basic human compassion and put themselves in her position and that of her husband.

Absolute disgrace.

Finallygotaroundtoit Mon 10-Dec-12 23:08:02

I'm sorry that she felt there was a lack of care and compassion but one commentator picked up that the MP seemed to expect a nurse to come and wipe her husband's eye, moisten his lips and give him a drink - when she was sitting there and capable of doing it.

If nurses are stretched they perhaps prioritise people who don't have a visitor.

She also had expectations of doctors being present on the ward most of the time and being around to talk to relatives daily - there just isn't the time

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