"I am so angry and disgusted at the way this lady was treated"

About: Gosport War Memorial Hospital

(as a service user),

I had an appointment at Outpatients in Gosport Memorial Hospital. As I entered the hospital from the large car park side of the hospital I saw a rather frail looking elderly woman being pushed in a wheelchair by a staff member in what I believe was a green uniform. It was very early morning and very cold. This dear old lady, was in flimsy pyjamas, had on a pair of slippers (no socks) and had a small flimsy blanket over her shoulders. Her pyjama bottoms were halfway up her shins. She looked frozen. I was quite shocked & upset to see her in such a state & asked her if she was cold, she seemed slightly deaf, then said its cold. The person pushing the wheelchair said she was waiting for an an ambulance. I mentioned that it was very cold outside and hadn't she anything warmer for her. I was told again in no uncertain terms, that they were waiting for an ambulance. The sliding doors were in constant use and cold air was coming in. I said to the staff member pushing the chair I can't believe you are going to take her out in the cold like that. I received no reply. I couldn't see any other member of staff and went to look for someone. But when I did return to complain further, the member of staff with and the dear old lady had gone. It was very upsetting to see what I believe to be negligence and total lack of concern by the staff member who was supposed to be caring for this dear lady. It has really upset me. I myself had parked just outside and felt the cold even though I was wearing a coat. I am so angry and disgusted at the way this lady was treated. I am half tempted to go to the ward tonight to see if her family might be visiting. Elderly people should be well covered up when they are taken through the hospital corridors and especially if they are going outside, even if it is warm. They are to frail to keep themselves warm. She didn't even have a dressing gown on.

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Response from Jane Tibble, Complaints and PALS Officer, Complaints and PALS, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for posting your valuable feedback about the patient you witnessed at Gosport War Memorial Hospital. I can understand how distressing this was for you to witness and thank you for letting us know.

I would like to assure you that all feedback received by the Trust is taken seriously and seen by the managers of the service concerned and logged within the Customer Experience team. Your feedback has also been shared with the Ambulance Trust to investigate, as they were providing the transport for this patient when you saw her.

I am sorry but we are unable to provide a full explanation to you concerns due to patient confidentiality but I would assure you that the patient has been identified and the Ward Sister has looked into your concerns and responded to them. I am aware that this patient refused to wear more clothes including socks, but would assure you that the patient’s choice, dignity and warmth was fully considered.

If you wish to discuss your feedback further please contact the Customer Experience Team on 02380 84065 or by email: hp-tr.customerexperience@nhs.net for assistance.

Kind regards

Jane Tibble

Customer Experience Advisor

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Update posted by Respectyourelders (a service user)

Actually I phoned the ward and discussed the clothing on the day. I was assured the old lady wore a jumper and trousers. I disputed this, even questioning we were discussing the same woman. Which apparently we were. Anyway I gave up on that conversation.

Maybe the lady was nice and warm in the ward, and didn't fully understand just how cold it was outside. She was very elderly and appeared frail and thin. Outpatients and staff were constantly using this entrance. I myself was well wrapped up and still felt the bitter cold by those doors as I spoke to her. The person in charge of her at the time could have been more understanding and even more responsive to my complaint. She hardly engaged in any conversation with me at all, and just said 'We are waiting for an ambulance '

May I suggest, that when elderly and possibly confused patients leave a hot ward and refuse warm clothes or a blanket, and are to leave the hospital by ambulance; a dressing gown or thick blanket should be draped over the back of the wheelchair. In this way, once the patient gets to a colder area, indeed even having to go out to an ambulance just in flimsy pyjamas, they may well reconsider and be happy for the warmth AND dignity! The elderly lady responded to me, and told me she was cold. Perhaps it was MY caring and concerned attitude towards her that encouraged her.

I have worked with both elderly patients and people with learning difficulties. I also nursed my mother through Alzheimer's. There is always a way to get around these things if one looks outside of the box.

If a warm blanket had been nearby on that day I think the lady would have allowed me to drape it over her. She allowed me to take her hand and conveyed to me she was cold. Indeed her hands and her arms felt cold to me, and I expressed this to the woman in charge of her.

For a frail elderly woman to be sitting in a wheelchair by a sliding door in constant use on a bitterly cold day, just wearing flimsy pyjamas to me is just not acceptable, however stubborn or perhaps fearful she may have been. I think there are better and more humane ways of doing things.

Try moving frail and elderly patients back from bitterly cold blast that come through sliding doors that are constantly in use.

I wonder how you would have reacted, if that happened to your mother, an elderly aunt, or your grandmother. I think you would have been just as upset and angry as I was.

Response from Jane Tibble, Complaints and PALS Officer, Complaints and PALS, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your feedback, if you would like South Central Ambulance Service to investigate into the issues you have raised about our member of staff, please could you contact our Patient Experience Team on 0300 123 9280 or email patientexperience@scas.nhs.uk

Kind regards

Patient Experience

South Central Ambulance Service Foundation Trust

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Response from Jane Tibble, Complaints and PALS Officer, Complaints and PALS, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

I would like to assure you that the Ambulance Trust and Southern Health are still looking into the issues raised in your feedback and a further reply will be posted in due course.

It is understandable that this experience has clearly upset you and we are very grateful to you for letting us know.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you and our telephone number is 02380 874065 or e-mail hp-tr.customerexperience@nhs.net

Kind regards

Jane Tibble

Customer Experience Team

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