"Anger and frustration with our father's care at Neville Hall hospital"

About: Nevill Hall Hospital

(as a carer),

It is almost a year since my father (who is 93) was admitted to hospital as an inpatient. He was re-admitted 3 times over 10 days, which I felt was because of misdiagnosis and poor treatment. I felt standards of care at all levels, from the nurses to the doctors to the nutritionists who looked after him, were pretty abysmal. My 2 sisters and I were reduced to crying in the corridors, with anger and frustration at seeing our father in such obvious pain.

There was a complete lack of dignity. In the middle of an Accident & Emergency department my father's catheter was emptied when he was sitting less than 6 inches from two other patients, with not a hint of an apology or even the idea that this might be unacceptable.

I was made to wait six hours to see the consultant on his rounds, only eventually to be told that he had visited at 8.30 that morning, but no-one on the ward had realised - except for my father of course, who the nurse told me was 'confused' and must have imagined it.

When he was eventually discharged, it was with a catheter, and district nurses visited each week. Two months later, we visited the consultant for an outpatient appointment. There seemed to be no comprehensive case notes, or at least he hadn't read them.

He suggested that my father should carry on taking the medication and didn't need to come back for any more outpatient appointments. He remarked on how fit he was for 93, but gave him no physical examination. When I asked about the catheter, he responded with "Oh, that will be in forever now...it's just what happens with age."

Two weeks later, the catheter fell out and my father had no trouble at all urinating without it. Four weeks after that my father stopped taking all the medication (most of which was unneccesary, according to the pharmacist). He is perfectly well, and determined to 'go up the mountain to die' when his time comes, rather than go to a hospital that 'made me ten times worse'.

The point of this saga is that my sisters and I believe the lack of effective clinical treatment, care and concern shown were a direct result of my father's age, and we saw this replicated many times with other older patients when we were on the wards.

The recent Staffordshire Hospital debacle also seemed to be mostly about older people...all credit to their relatives for their fantastic campaigns. I was less tenacious and could not face the long-winded complaints process (why does every consultant he has seen have to give their consent for my father to see his patient records?).

The Staffordshire case has re-awakened my determination to highlight poor practice in this hospital.

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