"Praise for staff but appalling delay in transfer from Beatson to Crosshose"

About: Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre Crosshouse Hospital / General Medicine Scottish Ambulance Service

(as a relative),

First of all I would like to praise all the staff who have been involved in my brother's care following his very recent devastating diagnosis and his care subsequent to this, both at Crosshouse Hospital in NHSA&A and at the Beatson NHSGG&C. The compassion and honesty that all staff have demonstrated to him and our family has been humbling, inspiring and truly appreciated. This includes portering staff, allied health professionals, doctors, nurses and ambulance staff. I should highlight that there is one nurse at the Beatson who is an exception to the aforementioned. However, we are realistic and recognise that there is likely to be at least one exception to the rule.

Hence, I feel saddened but compelled to send this in the hope that the obvious system failure can be investigated and improved to prevent any other families having a similar experience. My brother was due for transfer from the Beatson to Crosshouse hospital in November 2014. The ambulance was booked around 4pm and he was informed that the waiting time was expected to be 4-6 hours. Sadly and unbelievably, he was finally transferred 12 hours later, just after 4am, arriving at Crosshouse at 5. 15am. I'm sure you will agree that this is an appalling time to wait and is certainly not person centred or conducive to well being. Both my brother and sister in law had to endure an extremely distressing wait, fearing that his bed back at Crosshouse would be given away to another needy person as they were aware of the pressure on beds. We are still unclear as to why this has occurred, but being informed that "it is Friday night in Glasgow and there is a big football match on" did nothing to allay their fears. Nor does it provide a reasonable explanation for the distressing wait and the unnecessary anxiety caused, in what has already been one of the worst weeks our family has endured. We would be extremely grateful if this could be investigated further and for a response from the Scottish Ambulance service and the Beatson.

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Responses

Response from Pat O'Meara, National Head of Ambulance Control Services, Ambulance Control Centres, Scottish Ambulance Service

It was good to hear that the ambulance staff were so caring of your brother but I was very sorry to hear that he waited so long for the ambulance to transfer him back to Crosshouse Hospital. It was clearly very distressing.

I would really like to get back to you with a full explanantion as to what happened on the night in question. Please get in touch with me so that I am able to get the information I need to allow me to investigate this for you and your family.

We don't normally get things wrong, but when we do it is very important to us to see what we can learn from them, so do please get in touch.

My contact number is 0141 810 6101.

Thank you,

Pat

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Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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Dear Sad sister,

Speaking on behalf of Ayrshire and Arran, may I say that it is very humbling to hear the kind words you have said about the staff and the care they gave. I will endeavour to pass this post to as many of the teams that were involved in your brother’s care.

It is clearly not my place to respond regarding your other issues but I would just like to say that I am sorry that your family experienced such distress when you were obviously having such a difficult time. We would not want such delays for any of our family. I hope your brother is comfortable now and recovered from what must have been ‘quite a night’.

Best wishes,

Eunice

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Update posted by Sad sister (a relative)

Thank you both for your very quick and positive responses.

Pat, I have discussed with my brother and sister in law and they have opted to provide me with the necessary information so that we can take things forward. I will contact you as soon as I have all the detail. I don't know if it is possible, but it would be appreciated if you are able to convey our sincere thanks to the paramedic/technician crews for their compassionate care of my brother and sister in law.

Eunice, we would be grateful if you could circulate the positive feedback to the necessary staff at XH as mentioned. These would include medical and nursing staff in ward 2A, ward 3A, Xray porter and radiology staff.

Much appreciated.

Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear Sad sister,

First of all, I would like to wish your brother all the best for his future treatment. I know that this will be a very upsetting and stressful time for your family and so I am glad that, on the whole, the staff who have been involved in your brother's care have been treating you all with compassion and honesty. I am disappointed however that there has been an exception to this standard and will highlight this to the head of service so that all staff can be reminded of the impact their attitude and behaviours has on our patients and their carers.

Similarly, the communication issues your brother and sister-in-law experienced while waiting for their ambulance transfer need to be addressed. While my colleague at the Ambulance Service above will look into the issues around the delay specifically, I will look into the ways in which patients and their families are kept informed and are made comfortable if they do experience such a delay. I am sorry that your brother experienced this additional distress at an already difficult time.

With best wishes,

Lorna

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Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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How magnanimous people are never ceases to amaze me. I used to work in a small hospital in Edinburgh with a specialist breast unit and it was so very humbling when people came for their follow-up wielding homemade shortbread etc. saying “We must not miss you out because I am sure some folk do!” You have enough on your plate but your kindness is heart warming, thank you.

I think I may have only missed the x-ray porters from your list but I will send this out again and make sure they are included.

Best wishes to you and your family,

Eunice

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