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To make a complaint about district nurses?

149 replies

Luseez · 14/06/2017 13:49

My grandmother has been getting leg ulcer dressed for weeks. The nurses visit every Friday.

A few weeks back my grandma asked them if the visits could be before lunch so she can do her shopping in the afternoon as Friday is the only day she can do it. The nurse got very snotty with her and said the criteria for care is that the patients have to be housebound as she she's going out shopping, she shouldn't qualify. Grandma explained that her daughter takes her in car and Friday is the only day they can do it yet the nurse insisted that visits can't be timed and they will arrive anywhere between 8.30am and 5pm!!

Anyway a few weeks later my grandma asked another nurse if she knew what time they'd be coming the following week as she has a rare opportunity for a hairdressers appointment as a relative can take her that day. The nurse replied that no she didn't know and "going to hairdressers isn't housebound" and should she make her an appointment to get her legs dressed at the surgery in future. Grandma explained that the next door neighbour didn't keep a tidy crotch that she couldn't get to the surgery as she didn't always have people to take her there and back so the nurse said "well if they find out you're going out for things like hairdresser they'll make you attend a treatment room for your dressings.

Fast forward to last week, my grandma waited in all day for the nurse. It got to 4pm and my grandma was getting desperate for something to eat (diabetic) and had nothing in so assuming the nurse wasn't coming (as it was 4pm and the last nurse had told her they start doing other stuff at 4pm) my grandma walked to the shop at the end of the street to grab something to eat. When she got back the nurse was sat in her car and got out and said "you managing to get out and about then? I'll refer you to treatment room for next week". My grandma explained that she'd only just managed to walk to shop as she was diabetic and desperately needed something to eat. THE nurse apologised and said she'd try and keep the visits going.

Today she recieves a letter about 4 appointments for the next four weeks at various locations across the city as she's no longer been deemed as housebound. She's upset and worried as she can't get there. The district nurse on the phone said they had to prioritise patients who were "truly housebound". AIBU to make an official complaint?

OP posts:
Ficklemarket · 14/06/2017 16:14

Tinsel, precisely. Kindness shouldn't be at a premium.

Beerwench · 14/06/2017 16:15

I'm sorry but YABU.
If your gran can access transport for hair dressing, then why are health appointments not being prioritised? If family and friends can take her shopping and to hair appointments then why is it too difficult to help her attend a medical appointment?
District nurses have a criteria to stick to - and I've worked in care and have escorted clients to appointments because they were frail but not housebound.
I get that taxi's may not be affordable but there are patient transport services where I live or taxi's needed for transport refunded - really OP you and those that are already offering support should be helping regarding this matter.
DN services are for housebound patients, not those who have to 'wait in all day' for them. Your gran is not housebound. A complaint is pointless really, they haven't done anything wrong.

Ficklemarket · 14/06/2017 16:19

If they haven't properly explained what if any services are available (or where to look for them) then she should complain. If they have been brusque, she should complain.

VeryButchyRestingFace · 14/06/2017 16:20

Grandma was given fair warning, by the sounds of things. She's lucky the service wasn't whipped away the first time she indicated she wasn't a stranger to the Great Outdoors.

👍 about her neighbour's tidy crotch though.

brummiesue · 14/06/2017 16:24

She 'walked to the shop'? Clearly isn't housebound thenHmm

Ficklemarket · 14/06/2017 16:30

I hope some of the sharper posters don't work in the NHS or care for the elderly or vulnerable. Pretty rude.

MrsWire · 14/06/2017 16:48

my grandma waited in all day for the nurse Grin

Ficklemarket · 14/06/2017 16:51

Age UK are really good.

wonkylegs · 14/06/2017 17:00

Speak to age UK they are really helpful with signposting to community transport schemes and helpful taxi services (they are not all equal)
My mum has Alzheimer's and can no longer drive and struggles with walking. We arrange appointments when either one of us kids can take her (difficult as I live 300miles away, my sis is abroad, one brother 100miles away, the other can't drive) or when a friend or neighbour can help or her (private we pay for it) carer takes her. It's a juggling act, it's hard work and it's stressful but it's unfortunately just the situation. Home visits would be great but they are there for people who really have no other choice, as annoying as it is for your gran, it sounds like she needs to look at another way to manage
At my mums there is a community transport bus (you book it like a taxi and it comes to the door and drops to the door but you need to arrange 24hrs in advance) which is fab, helpful and reasonable and sound like the kind of thing your gran could use but they won't take people with Alzheimer's so my mum can't use it.

GrassWillBeGreener · 14/06/2017 17:02

Haven't read the whole thread. I believe that an added twist is that weekly ulcer dressings may not actually be covered under most GPs contracts either (possibly unless fairly short term). The system is broken in terms of who does what, where, and when with not enough slack in the system to enable things to be planned sensibly.

Punksparkle · 14/06/2017 17:12

As an ex NHS podiatrist who provided home visits, I have heard this argument many times (usually accompanied with "I've paid for this service!" However, there are some points to consider. Firstly, it is much better to provide care, especially for wound care, in the clinic where a wider range of dressings, access to other healthcare professionals for second opinions and cleanliness are guaranteed. Secondly, NHS vacancies for nurses are running at 10% and rising. the number of clinic patients who can be seen by one nurse is far greater than home visits where professional time is spent driving. Moreover, there are occupational health risks for nurses in patients' homes e.g. backs, eyes etc. finally, people feel much better for getting out of their own home, often they bump into old friends and neighbours. So feel much better for a nice chat away from the same four walls.

Reow · 14/06/2017 17:14

OP, just to clarify for you, if she was housebound waiting in all day would be a non-issue. The sentence is a contradiction Smile

GlitterGlue · 14/06/2017 17:19

Here you go, OP, try the RVS transport scheme.

There may be other, local, schemes as well hospital transport.

Ficklemarket · 14/06/2017 17:24

Punk, as long as seniors keep saying it, this means they are not having it properly explained. I have seen first hand NHS staff being rude and dismissive to seniors that express this view as if, somehow, the person is being entitled and nasty.
Seniors with good reason genuinely believe they are entitled to a higher level of care than is available.
Age UK and people like them are good explainers but when you hit it first time it is worrying and even depressing. Particularly if you are old and in poor health. And family members have to pick up the pieces. Sometimes that's an easy job, sometimes not.

waitforitfdear · 14/06/2017 17:26


Do you work in the NHS? I do and Yes it's underfunded but trust me the waste and mismanagement of that finding most defiantly is a factor along with the over reliance and over use of the emergency services.

The op and her family can obviously spare a very small amount of time to take their gran to the clinic for her drsssing changes or the gran could get a taxi or use the transport provided.

We had people dial 999 for sprains, advice on mild temperatures, advice on mild sunburn and people presenting in A&E with small cuts, bruises. Splinters, tooth ache, headaches and of course the drunks.

Some People do not take enough responsibility for themselves or their families and are selfish.

Ficklemarket · 14/06/2017 17:29

So being rude to a senior with health problems is an ok way to deal with shortages in the NHS?

brummiesue · 14/06/2017 17:38

How is informing her that her ability to walk to the shop and visit the hairdressers means she does not qualify for a service for the 'housebound' rude??!!

dotdotdotmustdash · 14/06/2017 17:39

My DH is a senior District Nurse and I''m and ex hospital nurse. His workload is massive and his teams (over the 6 practice teams he manages) are chronically short of trained staff due to long-term sickness and vacancies. The majority of his patients are not just housebound, but literally bedbound and very often they are dying. They are also required to visit the very frail and ill in residential homes as they don't have trained nurses on their staff.

The first visits of the morning are always to give insulin to the diabetics and then the day's workload can vary considerably and visits which are meant to be short can become very protracted. Going to a visit where someone is out is incredibly frustrating when the nurses have others to see that certainly won't be out. New patients appear on the list every day and require assessment visits and usually supplies and prescriptions to be obtained. Hospitals discharge very sick patients, sometimes without sufficient warning (NHS communications aren't always 100%!) and there's a rush to get everything ready in time. Student nurses and Student District Nurses also have to get their training and mentoring time. It's a heavy duty job!

The jobs isn't remotely like the 1980s series where Nerys Hughes cycled around on her bike chatting to the locals. The nurses can cover a large area with a massive amount of responsibility.

OP, you should consider your Gran very lucky that she isn't in the category who absolutely must have home visits for very often their lives are of poor quality and destined to be very short. If you Gran can get out of the house a few times a week for appointments and shopping her physical, emotional and social health will be much better than the alternative. Please think of the bigger picture.

Ficklemarket · 14/06/2017 17:40

It's the way it was said to her. Now I don't know how it was said but it clearly went against what, for a senior, are reasonable expectations. Until it is properly explained.

Sirzy · 14/06/2017 17:44

There is a massive difference between not having readily available transport and being housebound. It seems the OP and her family can't see this.

Ficklemarket · 14/06/2017 17:47

It seems the grandma doesn't quite get it and the op , being new to it, is trying to get her head around it.
Hardly the same as going to A&E with a splinter.

Ginmakesitallok · 14/06/2017 17:49

Oh the irony of being asked to change an appointment time for a housebound patient because they are going out! Like everyone else has said- if she can make it to the hairdressers and the shops then she can make it to the surgery.

Morgan2017 · 14/06/2017 17:50

Complain about what exactly? That the visiting nurses were annoyed at attending to a housebound patient who wasnt happy at having to stay in for said visit Hmm
Im really am sorry ur grandma isnt keeping too well but we all need to pull together when accessing NHS services as the bottom line is there is a complete ration of staff, supplies and resources. Its the way it is and disagreeing doesn't change that. Its unfortunate, ofcourse but its reality.
Use the time u would have spent complaining to nip ur grandma to the shops for supplies before friday so she has enough incase she is waiting in all day

tickwhitetick · 14/06/2017 17:50

Yes YABU Confused your grandmother is taking up a home visit space for people that are housebound

Sirzy · 14/06/2017 17:51

Both are people wasting NHS time though. The OPs man seemingly had at least 2 warnings before the decision was made that if she could keep going out she could get to the practise to leave the time of the district nurses to those who genuinely need it

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