"Disgusting service of Southport General Hospital"

About: Southport & Formby District General Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as a relative),

My brother was admitted to the hospital by his GP with agonising back pains. He has a chronic condition that requires several different painkillers including morphine substitutes.

He entered the ward at 1pm. At 6pm he had still not been offered a drink of water. My other brother had to ask for him to be given a drink of some kind. An auxiliary nurse was the only nurse around, and she said she was not 'authorised' to issue a drink. So, we had to sneak a takeaway meal in through the fire exits and bring it to my brother so that he would have food and a drink.

That night he was given very mild pain relief on a drip...which is, by his standards of medication, like putting a plaster over a cut throat. He was then offered medication of a stronger nature at 10am the next morning. It never arrived. He was promised it again, later on in the day. It never arrived. By 6pm when we visited him, he had still not had any strong enough medication to ease his pain. He was in agony and had still not seen a doctor. We asked a staff nurse, who to her credit, then tried her best to help us. The doctor came at last around 7pm and administered some drugs to help him sleep.

The bed opposite contained a senile patient who soiled his bed and got faeces all over himself and the ward. He wandered around for some time before he was attended to. When we visited my brother, we could smell this faeces and commented on it. Could situations like this be why we have MRSA in our hospitals?!

My uncle had a poor experience in Southport General Hospital some years ago and I believe my mother later kept her breast cancer (which lead to her death) hidden out of fear of experiencing the same treatment. I too would rather die at home than be treated with no compassion in hospital.

In my opinion, staff shortages and a political, money orientated ethos power our hospitals. The consultant neurosurgeon finally visited the ward on the last day my brother lay in that sagging bed with it's unsupportive and ill fitting mattress (I have photos of this) and then refused to see him. Why? I was told by one of the nurses that it was because the time had run out for the period where he was going to get paid. She seemed as disgusted as we were. So much for the Hippocratic Oath.

From what I understand, Southport General has a poor reputation. One of the main things that hit me when I walked in was the smell. It didn't smell clean.

I do voluntary work at The Christie in Manchester and that place is immaculate and there are special beds and mattresses for those with painful back conditions.

I cannot say the same for Southport General Hospital. I am skeptical about whether a more formal complaint would make any difference.

What was most disturbing for my brother and I was that everybody, including the doctors, seemed terrified of the implications of actually putting my brother out of his agony by administering the drugs he brought with him from his GP. Whilst I understand the need for caution with drugs not prescribed by the resident in-house doctors but by the same score, I wouldn’t expect anyone to know that a patient was writhing in agony and not administer drugs that could help. I want to see someone do something to sort it. Why does it take 48 hours to give someone pain relief?

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Response from Matthew King

We are sorry that you feel the care your brother received was not as you or he would have wanted and your description of what happened causes us great concern. However, because you do not say exactly when he was in hospital nor which ward he was on it is difficult for us to investigate the various incidents you describe. If you would like to make a formal complaint with more details we will investigate thoroughly the issues you raise and try to find out why they occurred and what we can do to ensure they do not happen again. If you choose to take this further you can do so by writing to The Complaints Department, Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, Town Lane, Kew, Southport PR8 6PN.

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