HINCHINGBROOKE Hospital’s new managers have reacted instantly to stinging criticism from a short-stay patient.

During her five days in the Huntingdon hospital Bridgette Crane from Brampton claimed one woman was left on a bedpan over night, she had to summons nurses to attend to elderly patients and deal with a deranged trouble-maker, and the food was poor.

She complained that, although the hospital was adequately staffed, doctors and nurses were not on the ward and took time to arrive when needed.

Stung by her criticisms of a very recent change to the way emergency care and short-term patients are looked after, Circle Health, which has now been in charge of the hospital for six months, invoked a "swarm" of senior doctors, nurses and managers to instigate immediate change.

"Hinchingbrooke apologises unreservedly for not meeting the expectations of a patient in our short-stay unit," a spokesman said.

"In response to a complaint made, the medical director, lead nurse, ward manager and staff from the unit met to discuss the concerns the patient raised. They decided on changes that were immediately put in place in the unit.

"Key changes include increasing the number of desks for nurses to be based, which allows them to be closer to their patients, and providing patients with more information about the range of meals offered in the unit."

Catherine Hubbard, medical director for emergency services, explained: "We value all the feedback our patients give us and take it very seriously. Patients are at the core of every decision we make and we aim to respond to any concerns they raise as quickly as possible.

"We are constantly striving to improve our services, and feedback from patients helps us to stay on track toward becoming a top ten hospital for patient experience, quality and safety."

Circle said the short stay unit was part of the hospital's programme to re-organise patient journeys of care through the hospital to make them simpler, better and safer.

"The goal of the unit is to make sure patients don't stay in the hospital longer than they need to and receive care that supports a short stay. The unit is still in the early stages of development and we rely on patients to give suggestions that will improve the experience of every patient."

The company had invited Mrs Crane to discuss her concerns with group chief executive Ali Parsa when he was visiting on Friday, but she had been unable to attend.

A spokesman said Circle would prefer patients to provide feedback through its official channels - as 8,000 of them had since February - rather than through The Hunts Post.

Letters - Page 7.