Little has changed- Today programme interview this am

This morning the Today programme will broadcast an interview I gave a few weeks ago, following a series of appalling complaints that came to see me regarding the care their loved one received at Mid Staffs.

It seems that any improvements that we hear about on the wards, the next few weeks we hear that any improvements havent been sustained.

The last round of complaints involved an elderly woman left on the commode for three hours. /when the family complained they were told that the staff cannot remember it happening. And no further action was taken- lessons learnt?

Another family told me that there was no water available on the ward for any of the patients- lessons learnt

We heard the same thing from another ward and another complainant, no water available through the night.



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7 Comments on "Little has changed- Today programme interview this am"

  • Michael spendelow says

    I was a patient at pinderfields hospital, Wakefield, four years ago for a prostate operation. During my four days there not once was my water jug filled by anyone, self service only ! My urine out put was carefully monitored on a chart. This was a complete waste of time as no one at any time asked or monitored my intake of water ! Twice plastic bag attached to bed to collect urine passed burst, twice this was simply mopped up with paper towels only. Floor was not cleaned in any way at all.
    When I returned home I complained to the hospital regarding treatment and was told they would “investigate” my complaint. They must be doing a thorough job as I have never heard another word from hospital re complaint in four years !

    • Julie Bailey says


      I am sorry that your experience of the NHS was a poor one, many now live in fear of going into our hospitals. I really dont know what went wrong the failings are the most basic things that keeps one alive. It seems the NHS does some wonderful things but what is the point when they let us down with the basics, the very things that keep us alive. Its daft it really is, its a waste of money and so much harm to people

      We will keep on but the denial is very hard to handle and you didnt even get a reply



    • Michelle says

      This no-water thing seems to be a scary common theme. I was hardly ever given water (I was in hospital for 8 days) and even had to get up immediately after major abdominal surgery to drag myself down the hall and go and suck water out of the sink in the bathroom with my hands. (Absolutely disgusting!!) I couldn’t believe that before and after my surgery I was inside of a hospital but in fear of dehydrating to death!

  • Steve Jones says

    29 St Chads Road


    Dear Mrs Bailey,

    My complaints are with regard to a number of issues that have come to my attention when my Mum was recently admitted to the Countess of Chester Hospital and eventually died and concern the poor standard of basic care that the staff provided for her in the last week of her life and hope you could investigate the matters raised.

    My Mum had been suffering from cervical cancer for four years but was admitted to the hospital on Friday 12th March 2010 and diagnosed with bronchial pneumonia aswell. At approximately 00.30 hours on Sunday 14th March Mum was transferred to Ward 51 annex F that is a single bedroom. Upon entering the room I noticed it was very cold and the window was open. I shut the window and put my hand on the radiator and realised the radiator was not working and reported this to the porter who had bought Mum to the room. He in turn told either the ward sister or staff nurse who confirmed there was a problem with the radiator and in turn tried to contact the maintenance department to affect a repair. I was then told that no one from maintenance could attend until the morning and my Mum was given an extra sheet to keep her warm. Do you think this is the correct procedure for a 78 year old woman who has been diagnosed with bronchial pneumonia? The hospital Trust’s response to this complaint is that an “action plan” has now been prepared. Surely an “action plan” does not have to be written for something as basic as this and if it does it should have been written when the hospital was initially opened and the question needs to be asked, did not the medical staff realise that a cold room is not an appropriate place for an elderly patient with bronchial pneumonia, or is this the first case of bronchial pneumonia that staff at the hospital had dealt with? I put it to you that even someone who has no medical knowledge at all would know that this is not good practice and would not need an “action plan” to inform them of such basic care!

    On the same day I returned to visit my Mum with other members of the family. After we had been there approximately 2 hours I realised that my Mum had not been changed. Bearing in mind that Mum had been suffering from cervical cancer with the associated blood losses for four years and now in the last week of her life was doubly incontinent. I drew this to the attention of a member of staff and was told Mum would be changed “in a minute”. This was a standard reply to almost anything I asked a member of staff during the week my Mum was in hospital. My Mum had to wait a further 4 hours to be changed. The effect that this had was to make her feel uncomfortable and gave her lack of dignity. This was predictable and preventable. The attitude that was portrayed to me from a lot (but not all) of the staff was the staff were trying to run a hospital and could not be inconvenienced with looking after elderly dying patients.

    The Trust’s response to this complaint is that it has produced an “action plan to remind staff of the importance of monitoring and changing patients.” My response to this is, surely an action plan has already been produced to inform staff of how to clean patients or is this first patient they have needed to clean since the hospital opened?

    Also whilst my Mum was in hospital £20.00 was taken out of her handbag (which was in a zipped holdall) and lost by a female member of staff and I was told that the money had been put in a safe for safe keeping but no receipt was ever issued. Mum was also aware that the money had been taken and until she lost consciousness kept asking me to make sure that the money was returned but because Mum was gravely ill this was the last thing on my mind. However when Mum died my daughter asked the nursing staff for the money to be returned. The money however was never located and I made an official complaint but despite a thorough internal investigation, which started on 30th March the money, was never found and the member of staff who took it never owned up to their negligence. However on 21st June I received a cheque with a letter of apology from the legal services department. In this instant it is not about the money but the principle of what happened.

    Other instances of negligence which occurred during my Mum’s brief stay in hospital concerned her tablets not being given in the correct sequence and a barrier cream to alleviate soreness of her cervical tumour (which had been specifically prescribed by my Mum’s consultant prior to her admittance) The doctor in charge was also ill informed as to some of my Mum’s medication as some of her medication was not even listed on her medical notes which I can only assume is yet another act of negligence on behalf of the staff. When I informed the ward doctor (Dr A Javed) I was told this medication was not on her notes and to found out what the missing medication was called myself. Surely this is the job of the doctor! She then told me bluntly, that my Mum would probably be dead by the end of the week! I then had to remind the doctor that this lady that she showed little regard for was my Mother and that she should be treated with a little more respect and dignity. Eventually after making a number of telephone calls I found the name of the barrier cream myself and informed the doctor who instructed ward staff to apply it. Unfortunately the staff were untrained as how to use this cream or for what it was for and started to apply the cream to dry skin on my Mum’s feet and it was only as a result of my Mum informing the staff that it was applied to the cervical tumour.

    I also observed other elderly patients who could not manage to eat or drink for themselves not being fed by the nursing staff and it is my belief that if you cannot feed yourself in hospital you will starve to death! In the last couple of days of my Mum’s life when she could no longer drink properly we noticed that her lips were completely dry due to the fact that the staff were not even moistening them. Fortunately we visited and stayed with her for about 12 hours a day but on our return it was obvious they had not been moistened. Also a syringe driver that administered morphine was introduced and when I asked what this was for I was told that it was a pain killing device which had the same effect as taking a couple of paracetomol tablets, despite the fact that my Mum showed no sign of discomfort or being in pain. I have since found out that morphine in syringe drivers kills people.

    I had an unbiased opinion of the NHS and this hospital until I witnessed first hand the events I have mentioned in this letter and am now extremely disappointed and concerned with the attitude and care that some of the staff and hospital provide.

    I fully understand that everyone dies and when a close relative dies it is going to be upsetting but the staff showed little or no compassion to the situation and I had to point out to the doctor that it may be a run of the mill situation for her to have a patient die but to me it was the worst thing that could possibly happen and my life would never be the same again. The attitude that came across was why invest time and money on an elderly patient who is terminally ill.

    I have written to the complaints department of the hospital and the Chief Executive of the hospital as to my observations and complaints and have asked as to what action has been taken against the staff and requested that disciplinary action be taken against the members of staff that were negligent and have written documentary evidence of the replies should you wish to see them but I feel that nothing will be done other than for them to apologise for the bad practices that were carried out. Despite a request the Trust will not inform me if they have taken any disciplinary action. Bad practices and treatment of the elderly at this hospital and others need exposing so that members of the public know what to expect when family and friends are admitted to hospital. I have also written to the hospital and asked them under The Freedom of Information Act as to how many complaints they have received regarding the lack of basic care of patients from 1st January 2007 until 23rd June 2010 to which they replied 141. I believe I have only just scratched the surface as to what is going on in this hospital and am now at a loss as to where to turn for assistance in this matter.

    If you wish to discuss this matter further with me I can be contacted at the above address or by telephone on 07831 817536.

    Yours sincerely,

    Steve Jones

  • Chris Male says

    There is something very wrong with the procedure and criteria for hospitals to gain foundation status if Staffordshire Hospital was able to achieve this while all the appalling treatment was going on for patients.

    Several years ago my 87 year old mother was moved from a ward in Wythenshawe hospital to a discharge ward where she spent 3 months, either already with an undiagnosed fractured spine due to osteoporosis, or it was acquired in the discharge ward. She also acquried MRSA in the hospital.
    I know of other people who have gone into hospital in my local area of Northampton with non fatal illnesses who died nevertheless.

  • David Furr says

    The SRN/SEN system provided far better nursing care than we have now. The standards started to go down when the old SRN system was terminated. Too many nurses consider they are too important to care for patients. The good nurses,and there are many of them, are overworked while the paper qualified nurses do little to earn the dignity of the title of”Nurse”. We used to have the best nurses in the world, we can hardley make that boast now. All these terrible stories and not one report of any action against the nurses who have failed the profession.
    Good luck with your campaign, you have to succeed for all us.

  • Well done – your campaigning really seems to be getting results

    Had my 90 year old mother in our local hospital several times. Had to kidnap her once as she was deemed to old to be operated on – but hospital which treated her sent home a very, very lively woman after mending broken hip. Had to go in and feed her for all three meals another time, as nursing staff couldn’t be bothered even though she had broken shoulder in several places and couldn’t sit up. But complaints took ages to get a reply, and then answers overlooked what complaint had been about.

    Now, after your campaigning, I was dreading going in to this hospital for an op. I have had polio, and Assessment Nurse refused to listen to what I said was needed. She also overlooked that I was being treated for anaemia, and had had major heart surgery. When I complained to hospital I not only received a very apologetic letter, but was invited to meet up with chief Anaesthetist, who left me in no doubt, after an hour-long appointment, that the nurse had been severly disciplined.

    Am sure this is result of you stirring things up – Thank you.