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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:
FluffyPineapple · 14/06/2017 17:51

YABU. Your GM should either get a family member or neighbour to take her to the surgery. Failing that she can obviously get into a car so she is obviously able to get into a taxi.

This is the very reason why people who really are housebound and need home visits struggle - Because the NHS is overstretched providing support to those who could manage if they have a mind to

Ficklemarket · 14/06/2017 17:52

Flipping heck, some people are talking about this person as if she is about 20 with some nail extension malfunction expecting 24 /7 personal care.
Have a heart. Trying to get your head around social care and health care for the elderly brought down a bloody government. It's hard to navigate at the best of times, especially the start.

ScribblyGum · 14/06/2017 17:58

Principle issue of concern in this story is an elderly person with diabetes who is "getting desperate for something to eat" and needs to leave the house in order to "grab something to eat".
Purchasing of food needs to be reviewed by your grandmother and her daughter (? your mum) OP so she has enough food in the house to cover an event like not getting to the shops every Friday.

TrueColors · 14/06/2017 18:03

Fickle the grandmother was told the first time that she wasn't housebound but she was lucky enough that they continued anyway. I'm sorry but I think she acted in an entitled way, having been told once.

The DNs visit people who cannot even scratch their own nose or get a drink of water that's on a table next to them. People are living longer with increasingly complex health problems. People like this and able to stay at home longer too, more than ever before.

Ficklemarket · 14/06/2017 18:07

Sadly I know all about a person being so ill they can't scratch their nose. My mum just died of lung cancer.
Yes, I am projecting some of the negative experiences we had as we entered the world of health and social care for her.
But it is dreadful how dismissive some hcps can be while you are trying to navigate it. Yes, we got some great care and some great advice. But we also got some horrible stuff which upset my utterly not entitled retired nurse of a mum. She thought there would be more help readily available to her. The tutting and rolling eyes type posts of some on here is very reminiscent of the negative we encountered.

dotdotdotmustdash · 14/06/2017 18:08

Another thing to think about is that your complaint will end up with a member of the DN team who will have to review it, investigate it and answer it. That's a few hours spent that will mean less visits elsewhere.

Delilah21D00LoT · 14/06/2017 18:11

Sorry Luseez, but I am in agreement with everyone else, your Grandmother clearly has a need for medical help, but, she is very fortunately, NOT Housebound.

There is a huge difference between being Housebound and not having Transport.

Within my work, I know a lot of District Nurses, and quite frankly yes they can be damn rude at times. However, they have an ever increasing, overflowing workload of REAL cases of housebound patients - many who are seriously ill.

I would imagine that it was the 'final straw' for this DN that it was glaringly obvious she could have been at the house of a truly Housebound patient.

She can ring her local GP surgery and book 'Dressing's appts for the days and times that suit her (within reason obviously).

If someone is Housebound, their shopping gets delivered, they have hairdressers go to their house, GP's visit them and so on.

Sorry, but I think your Grandmother is incredibly fortunate to be able to walk to the shop to buy her food.

PookieDo · 14/06/2017 18:11

I'm sorry to repeat what has been written by others but it is correct.
Patients who need urgent care or very specific medications at certain times (diabetics) are prioritised and bed bound patients.
We just don't have the resources or nurses to stretch as far as we would like. It is very sad. But please do not blame the community teams for this because it is not what they want either.
Your issue is with the government. Not the services desperately struggling to provide it. Write to your MP

Ficklemarket · 14/06/2017 18:11

Yes and "don't complain because it just makes trouble for us" is part of the negative that you can experience.
Social services in one of the most dysfunctional towns on UK always gave mum the impression that they weren't too busy for her (they must have been) and did everything to give great advice about accessing services.
Age Uk too.

Tubbyinthehottub · 14/06/2017 18:21

YABU. But what was the bit about the neighbour's crotch meant to say??

waitforitfdear · 14/06/2017 18:21


Who was rude? It's not rude to point out that dns are not beauticians and actually can't turn up at will.

It was bloody rude of the gran to ask! And it's bloody ridiculous for the op to think of complaining rather than taking her gran to the appointments and neglecting to ensure she has basic food in her house especially as she's a diabetic.

nerys Hughes was a bit before 1980 though more 1930! I was a dn through the 80s and 90s and we did have cars then you know Grin

waitforitfdear · 14/06/2017 18:22

And yes of course you get rude nurses just like any other profession but that's not the norm is it?

Ficklemarket · 14/06/2017 18:24

I give up.

Let's all have a good bitch about an older person with diabetes who hasn't twigged stuff yet. And her family for struggling to get their heads around it.

Bloody inconvenience.

Honeyandfizz · 14/06/2017 18:27

Having been a DN for 18 years we often have in excess of 20 home visits in a 7.5 hour day. The service is for HOUSE BOUND people only, not those who can go to the hair dressers, shops etc. A taxi should be used in this instance. It is not bullshit to say the NHS simply cannot cope with the needs of everybody.

DoItTooJulia · 14/06/2017 18:30

Do you have to be housebound for district nurses to visit? Because I know a couple of people who aren't housebound but need the DN service and there's never been any suggestion that they should be discharged because they're not housebound.

Sirzy · 14/06/2017 18:35

fickle how long should she be given to get her head around it though? It seems like they "overlooked" her ability to get out at least twice even when she was trying to use her ability to get out to put unreasonable demands on the system.

At some point they do simply have to say "we tried to explain, you where warned but now we need to focus this resource on those who really do need it."

MyOtherNameIsTaken · 14/06/2017 18:35

The tidy crotch made me laugh but I can't see what it's an autocorrect for Grin

Honeyandfizz · 14/06/2017 18:37

Doit yes you do, the only time would be on a weekend if the practice/clinic was closed and the person needed a home visit.

Interestingly I was at a meeting today with our chief exec and they were saying the housebound rule is going to very clamped down upon as we see more and more complex referrals into the service.

dotdotdotmustdash · 14/06/2017 18:42

nerys Hughes was a bit before 1980 though more 1930!

I actually said 'the 1980s series' not that it was set in the 1980s Wink

DH and I started our nurse training in 1992 and the DNs were definitely in cars by then! Mind you, DH would love to do his rounds on his bike but his car is like a mobile health centre with all the stuff he has to carry - the days of carrying one bag are long gone!

Eggandchipsfortea93 · 14/06/2017 18:43

My DM couldn't walk more than a few steps when she was terminally I'll, and was very frail. She needed and injection every day, and the surgery tried very hard to make me transport her, because I did it once. I lived 30 miles away and has 2 DCs under 10, a full time job and no partner, but they were adamant I could do it with sufficient 'effort'. They eventually accepted that I could not stop work, or being a parent, so I could not really come every day to drive my DM.
I didn't really blame them though, they're trying to keep home visits for those who have no alternative.
If a relative can take someone shopping every Friday pm, they could take them to the drs instead, and that should take priority (said relative could help her order shopping on the internet or do it for her, if there isn't time to do both).

SparklyMagpie · 14/06/2017 18:59

Can't get over the neighbours tody crotch


PookieDo · 14/06/2017 19:02

It is ok to complain but you ought to complain to the right person, in the right way.
I see complaints a lot, and often they are focused on the wrong person and the small things, also written in angry accusatory tones and the person writing hasn't done any research into the issue.
OP posting here is a kind of research - yes this is how services are run.
But this decision sits far higher up and you are always much better off going high - why not write to your MP, the board of directors or chief exec about NHS policy, instead of the team who are just the 'worker bees' of the organisation. Let your complaint have a better impact. People SHOULD be telling their MP their experiences of the NHS, and should be telling chief execs. I assure you that a complaint sent to PALS about this kind of thing will never grace the email inbox of anyone important with gravitas

NerrSnerr · 14/06/2017 19:08

My neighbour is the type that wouldn't keep a tidy crotch. Might tell the GP that so I can get a home visit.

Softkitty2 · 14/06/2017 19:24

If she can manage to make a hair appt. She can manage to get to a surgery for her legs.

She wants it done at home because its convenient for her. Sorry

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream · 14/06/2017 19:39

Where has the OP gone? It's infuriating when you take time to reply and then the OP can't be bothered to come back...

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