"confusede elderly patients from A&E"

About: Charing Cross Hospital

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I was appalled to witness an elderly patient shouted at by the front exit by Security staff this morning, was wearing pale blue cotton bottoms. she had her right arm in a sling, she walked with a limp and she was using a crutch. she had soiled herself with faeces and urine and the smell was strong enough fom her person to be noticeable to anyone entering or leaving the Main Entrance. Staff dressed in black sweatshirts and pants was shouting at her to leave the hospital or they would call the Police. The staff at the glass counter sat and watched the spectacle, the signs of defecation were visible on the exterior of her cotton bottoms would have been visible to the staff. Outside she was surrounded by four staff in black. Her hair was white and unstyled. After my visit I spoke to the Security staff. They told me she was vagrant, that when I saw her she was trespassing on hospital property, I said I thought she was 80yrs old, they said she is in her 70's but had 'chosen' to be Homeless? she had been to A&E treated allowed to stay the night because of the cold rain but they were busy and she had to leave. She was on patient transport and was allowed off to use the toilet, clearly this request wasn't met in time!!! She was humiliated and exposed to all the other patients coming in and out of the hospital and in effect 'accused' of criminal behaviour by terming her a Vagrant. Surely, a woman of that age who is entitled to State Benefits and appears confused should be offered a more sensitive intervention than the one she was subjected to by Security Staff today. Senile Dementia in her age group is frequent and wandering fro the present to look for people and places in the past is common. Was it really ethical to decide she had chosen to remain homeless, was she fit to make a choice?

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Response from Charing Cross Hospital

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is very concerned to read of the distressing incident you have reported. This has been passed to senior staff in A & E and our Head of Security and Safety and an urgent review of this incident is already underway to understand the circumstances and to address the significant concerns that you have raised with regard to how Trust staff dealt with this difficult situation. We would like to assure you that the care of patients and visitors on our premises is important to us and the Trust takes seriously concerns about the behaviour of our staff. If you would like to discuss your concerns further please contact our Patient Advice & Liaison Service pals@imperial.nhs.uk and Christine Cornell, PALS Manager will be happy to speak with you.

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