world : Two-day trolley wait for 92-year-old 'unacceptable'

world : Two-day trolley wait for 92-year-old 'unacceptable'
world : Two-day trolley wait for 92-year-old 'unacceptable'

Monday 1 July 2024 08:48 AM

Nafeza 2 world - A family whose elderly relative was kept on a trolley in a hospital corridor for two days has spoken out about the state of the NHS.

Anita Tonks, from Stone Allerton in Somerset, got in touch with the BBC through the Your Voice, Your Vote campaign ahead of the general election.

Her mother-in-law, 92-year-old Nancy Tonks, was admitted to hospital in Telford in October 2023 after a fall.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust patients "on occasion" have to wait in corridors but that this is "not acceptable".

Mrs Tonks was admitted to the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford after she broke her wrist and damaged her face falling in her home.

But once admitted, she was then kept in a corridor for two whole days.

Her daughter-in-law Anita said: "It was a very cramped and narrow environment and there were people passing to and fro.

"She was kind of throwing her sheets and blankets off and there was no privacy, no dignity, for her."

Eventually Nancy had a plaster put on her wrist.

She died - of old age - several weeks later in nursing home.

"The NHS has been allowed to go to the dogs," Ms Tonks said.

Director of nursing at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, Hayley Flavell, said: “We would like to offer our deepest condolences to the family of Mrs Tonks.

“We are not able to comment on individual cases, but on occasion we do have patients waiting in our hospital corridors outside of the Emergency Department (ED).

"This is not acceptable, and we are working with other healthcare providers to do all that we can to ensure that all our patients receive the quality of care they need in the right place."

Ms Flavell said that through investing in new services and trying new ways of working, they are starting to see "small but steady improvements".

However, she said they continue to "experience extreme demand across the whole health and care system".

Mrs Tonk's story is far from unusual.

According to Bristol plastics surgeon, Nigel Mercer, who has advised the Federation of Surgical Specialties Associations on how to reduce record NHS waits, "if you are over 95% bed occupancy, you are at a point where you can't get patients in and out of hospital".

"Particularly with social care being such a block," he added.

"My mother-in-law was blocking a bed before a social place was found for her."

Mr Mercer is calling on politicians to hold a Royal Commission to decide how health and social care are funded in the future.

He added: "The economics are very straightforward.

"If you want to spend more on the health service, it’s a bottomless pit - you can put as much money in it as you like but it won't fund all the healthcare it can give.

"When you look back to 1948, when it was set up, it’s a completely different type of healthcare environment we are in now and I don’t think Aneurin Bevan would ever have dreamt it would be providing what it is providing now.

"Maybe the politicians have to be honest - we cannot provide all the healthcare we can give."

The Conservative manifesto promised to increase NHS spending above inflation every year and that they would continue programmes to build 40 new hospitals by 2030.

Labour have promised to cut NHS waiting times with 40,000 more appointments a week, by paying staff more to work weekends and evenings. It has also pledged to honour the Conservative's New Hospital plan.

The Liberal Democrats said they want 1,000 new hospital beds and investment for A&E departments giving an extra £400m per year to staff the new hospital beds.

The Green Party does not specifically mention hospital beds in their manifesto. However they said their Green social care investment plan of £20bn will restore dignity by guaranteeing everyone free personal care in their home, saving hospital beds.

Reform UK is the only party to call for a Royal Commission in the first 100 days. The party said it will cut NHS waiting lists to zero, introduce a basic income tax rate of zero for staff in the sector for three years and end caps on training new staff.

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