"Appalling"

About: Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital

What I liked

My husband is in this hospital. I would write a complaint, but he is terminally ill and I haven't got the will, time or energy. He has had one mistake after another, no-one tells him what is going on, and he has had delay after delay. The latest:

- Asked for him to be admitted on Friday as he was so weak from lack of food, and then had to asked in no uncertain terms for a scan to be done that day rather than Monday.

- His stomach was blocked by the cancer. Due to be unblocked on Monday but because the ward weren't told until too late was given some food , at 5pm it was cancelled.

- On nil by mounth from midnight and due to go in for surgery at 10 on Tues,went down at 2 and found out they were doing it was something different to what he had been told. The guy doing the procedure said 'you're on the wrong list', and then 'shall I go ahead?' . As it was a feedling tube, my husband thought it might help so said 'yes'. This wasn't what was planned, as admitted by everyone - oncologist to ward staff, my husband was distressed and I left work to try and find out what had happened. No-one had been able to explain.

- He was then told he was going to the James Paget on Friday as only they had the laser equipment necessary . Went yesterday (Wednesday). He believes that they then did a procedure that did not involve lasers.

-Back at N&N, last night he was too tired to see me and I said to the nurse that he badly needs to eat. He has lost 3 stone in 3 months or so, and had hardly eaten in hospital.

- This morning I spoke to him and he was very befuddled and said he was worn out, ascitic fluid was making it hard to get confortable or breath. He was not supposed to eat until rounds.

- I rang the acute oncology team, the nurse said to me (in summary) 'It's ten in the morning, the team has a heavy workload, all I can say is he will be seen at some point today

What could be improved

Please make it a priority to treat terminally ill patients with dignity and care. Please tell them what you are going to do and when and then do it. Please do not have staff who say things like 'they see patients that are a priority first, he will be seen at some time today' when your terminally ill husband seems in some distress, is malnourished, did not eat at all the preceding day, had 150 calories the day before and hardly anything before that and cannot eat until he has seen someone. Please do not make people who have very limited time left hang around for days in hospital with poor quality of life when there are things than can be done to remedy the situation. Some of your staff are very nice, but in our case the system has not worked and the nurse I spoke to in acute oncology was not at all kind, to say the least.

Apply the gold standard framework in your hospital. I never, ever imagined that my husband would get this type of treatment in such serious circumstance. I feel like all I do is chase and chase, I have been in tears on the phone a number of time - I am beginning to think 'is it me?', 'am I expecting too much?' , 'am I a troublemaker'. But read what I have written, what do you think?

Anything else?

You need and emergency complaints procedure for serious situations that are ongoign.

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Responses

Response from Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital

We are very sorry to hear about your poor experience of care at our hospital. We would encourage you to make a formal complaint so that we can investigate in full, respond to the issues you have raised and make improvements. Our Patient Advice and Liaison Service can help you and the team can be contacted at pals@nnuh.nhs.uk