"Appalled at the reason given for not transferring a patient from Elgin to Aberdeen"
About: Dr Gray's Hospital / Respiratory Medicine (Breathing and Lung Problems) Dr Gray's Hospital Respiratory Medicine (Breathing and Lung Problems) IV30 1SN Scottish Ambulance Service Scottish Ambulance Service EH12 9EB
Posted by Mrs S Fife (as ),
I was absolutely stunned to be told that a reason my 83 year old Father-in-Law was not being transferred from Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary was that the Ambulance Drivers wouldn't want to do that journey so close to the end of their shift as it would mean ending their shift in Aberdeen.
I find it appalling that this is considered in any way to be acceptable practice.
Following chest pains, my Father-in-Law was admitted, by ambulance, to DGH in the early hours in late January. During that same day, it was confirmed that he had suffered a heart attack. We were told that he would be transferred to ARI, when a bed was available, to have an angiogram and possibly a stent. We were told that it would likely be the weekend before this would happen.
Due to lack of beds in DGH he was not admitted to a ward there, but was given a bed in an area off A&E. Five days later, he was still in that same temporary holding area where there was a mix of patients coming and going and no windows for natural daylight for him to be able to make sense of the time of day or night or to stimulate his mind.
We were told that he might be getting moved to ARI so that the procedures could be done in a couple of days. During visiting time, there was still a suggestion that he might be getting transferred that day, and so his daughter packed his bags in readiness. My Father-in-Law, having no clarity or certainty about was happening, was then concerned about when he might be moving; that he would be getting to Aberdeen late in the evening; that he didn’t know who would be going with him; and that he did not know what would be happening when he got there. Meanwhile, his 81 year old wife, from whom he has not spent 24 hours apart for the last seven years, is at home in a very anxious state, worrying about him travelling at that time of night in wintery conditions and faced with the prospect of trying to go to sleep not knowing where he will be when she wakes up in the morning – all of which is impacting significantly on her own well-being, and those around her.
Later in the evening we were told that he would probably not be moving – and the Ambulance Drivers’ were given as a reason. I found it odd that anyone would plan to move an 83 year old gentleman at that time of night in non-emergency circumstances, but if that was what was required in order to secure a bed and be ready for the procedures, I would have accepted it as a reasonable thing to do. However to be led to believe that a bed was available in Aberdeen and then be told he probably couldn’t have it because a group of staff would be inconvenienced by having to make that journey is absolutely outrageous.
It certainly does not demonstrate holistic or person-centred care and it does not demonstrate care, respect or regard for the relatives who are worrying about their loved one. A gentleman who would do anything he possibly could to make sure others were not inconvenienced and who would always put others before him is treated as an object to be pushed through the system – and as an inconvenient object at that. It is shocking!
I received a text from him saying he was disappointed that he wasn’t going to Aberdeen.
I am quite sure that the stress of the uncertainty about the journey, the worrying about his anxious and worried wife at home and the feeling that he isn’t important enough for someone to actually do the job they are employed to do impacted upon him and contributed to him feeling unwell and having further chest pains.
He has now had an ECG and is being monitored and has been told that if he worsens he will be transferred to HDU – but at the moment he is not a priority for Aberdeen.
Not a priority! I ask you to consider how you think that phrase makes him feel?
Some words around “We’re able to appropriately manage your condition here. ” or “You’re not ill enough to need to go to Aberdeen. ” or “We can look after you fine here. ”, etc would have been more reassuring for him – and I hope would also be true. However, “You are not a priority” devalues, demoralises and depresses the person and those around him.
And we are left wondering what a priority situation would be, and sincerely hoping that he is transferred to Aberdeen where he can be given the treatment advised in good time before his physical and mental condition begin to deteriorate through being confined to bed for longer than required and denied the treatment necessary because the service that should have taken him to Aberdeen decided it would be too inconvenient for them to do so.
My Father-in-Law tells us that he is well looked after, the food is good and he gets plenty cups of tea. The call handlers on 111, the paramedics who attended him at home and the staff looking after him in Dr Grays have all done a great job and should be commended for that. However the message from the system is that he is an inconvenience and not a priority and that does not help anyone to feel positive about the situation. I ask you to consider if this situation would be acceptable if it was your family member?