Hospital boss backs his staff after complaints

HINCHINGBROOKE Hospital managers seem baffled by a series of complaints about patients treatment on one of its wards. Since a report in The Hunts Post last week describing relatives allegations of poor care and lack of staff on Magnolia Ward several ot

HINCHINGBROOKE Hospital managers seem baffled by a series of complaints about patients' treatment on one of its wards.

Since a report in The Hunts Post last week describing relatives' allegations of poor care and lack of staff on Magnolia Ward several other readers have contacted the paper with further complaints.

Ironically, some of the perceived problems may be caused by major improvements to the wards that have successfully reduced outbreaks of infection. Managers believe patients who cannot see nurses because of new smaller self-contained bays think the nurses are not there. They acknowledge that lack of visibility needs to be addressed.

William Elvin, 79, from St Ives contacted the paper to say he had had concerns about his late wife's treatment during her five admissions after her first stroke in August last year. She died in February.


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He said: "There are many staff there who do care and try to do a good caring job, and it seemed to be a shame they should be embarrassed."

He says on one occasion, two nurses took his wife to the toilet in a chair, left her and she fell bumping her head. On another, his wife was sent by her GP for a brain scan that did not take place. When she was re-admitted for checks the following week the scan revealed a tumour.

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Mr Elvin said in the last week of his wife's life no one had offered to help her get out of bed, and staff on Magnolia had lost her dentures.

Kay Channon said that her elderly mother, who lives in a nursing home in Sawtry, had been in Magnolia Ward in February and March. She said she had been shocked at the level of care for her mother and other patients. She claimed food was left by patients' beds out of reach and was removed when they did not eat it.

Another reader who spent time on Magnolia claimed all the nurses went to sleep after midnight and the patients had to help each other.

One reader described how her husband caught a bug after spending time on Magnolia and also fell and cracked his pelvis.

But hospital chief executive Mark Millar told The Hunts Post: "I have no reason to believe that staff on Magnolia Ward are any less hardworking or motivated than their colleagues across the hospital.

"I am disappointed to hear these allegations. We will be investigating each of them, which, if true, are unacceptable to all of us.

"While we would always like more nursing staff available, recruitment has been difficult, though the position now is the best it has been for a long time. There has been no reduction in nurse staffing levels and budgets. These are constantly kept under review, especially as patients coming into hospital are increasingly frail with complex health needs," he added.

"We would encourage patients or relatives to contact us directly if they have concerns. They will all be investigated. In the last six months, Magnolia, as with all our wards, continues to receive more letters of commendation and thanks than complaints.

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