"My mother's treatment by GPs and hospital staff"

About: Dawlish Hospital Devon PCT

(as a relative),

My mother is 78 and was fit and able to walk into town, which is 1 mile, until July, when her legs mysteriously swelled up overnight to a huge size. She could not get any shoes on and could only walk a few feet. She has an ongoing problem with diverticulitis, which has made her life unbearable, and has caused a prolapsed bowel wall with her constantly needing the toilet. After a few days of feeling really ill, my mother requested a home visit from a GP and asked if she could go into hospital. The GP was reluctant to give her any treatment and was rude to my mum, only to give her water tablets. My mum's breathing was bad and she was in agony due to her diverticulitis.

The GP admitted her to a local hospital. She thought that she would get some care and rest and treatment for her swollen legs and diverticulitis. The staff were made aware by the GP of her medication and I gave them all the medication she was on, and when she was due to take it. On the first day, they forgot to write up one of her drugs so she did not get it – even though my mum told them they had missed it, they ignored her. When I visited her later that day, she was crying and in complete agony; she had repeatedly asked the nurse for the drug but she ignored her. I spoke to the nurse who said they were busy and cannot do drugs rounds all the time.

This hospital, when full only had 12 beds! The time she was in there, her drugs were given to her at least 2 hours late. I asked the nurse what time she would be given her last drug and was told it would be 9pm and this would definitely happen. When I spoke to my mum the next day, they gave it her at 10.30. We felt the nurse had decided that she would give it to her when she wanted to, just to be petty because we had complained.

I complained, and my mum asked me to collect her and discharge her. They did nothing at all to investigate her illnesses while she was there and she left the hospital more ill than when she went in. I asked the nurse for her medication and she told me she had put it in a bag. I checked it before I left and she was missing one of her drugs, we suspect that this was done deliberately to cause problems because she had discharged herself. I wrote a letter to my GP after she had left, informing them of the treatment my mum had received in the hospital but I did not get a reply.

Since she has been home, the GPs do come out and see her when she needs them, but I have been there a few times and can see that they have no time for my mum and treat her as if she is a nuisance. She saw a specialist at the beginning of September, about having a minor op on her prolapsed bowel, the waiting time was 4-6 weeks, but she still has not had an appointment yet. The pain for her sitting down is unbearable and it makes her cry with pain. When the GP came last week, my mum was upset saying she cannot carry on any longer. Her quality of life is awful, but the GP didn't seem to realise what my mum is going through, and I am sure the GP would make sure that their mother got the best treatment and was not in pain.

My mum has only been to the doctor a few times in her life and now when she has needed help they have treated her very badly.

What type of country are we living in, where you are allowed to suffer and the GP is rude to an elderly person? They need to take a course in customer service and put themselves in their patients position. I can see why there is the need for private healthcare. The staff that dealt with us in hospital have chosen a carer in care, but my mum has received no care whatsoever and she has been let down by the local GP's.

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