Trust apologises to Chatteris family over mum’s hospital experience

A HOSPITAL trust has apologised to the son of a Fenland woman a year after her death admitting that her stay in Hinchingbrooke Hospital had “not been a good experience for all concerned.”

Liz Pointing, director of nursing, midwifery and operations at the hospital, made the comments during the summing up of a meeting held to discuss John Mandley’s complaints.

Minutes of the meeting held at Hinchingbroke last month report that Mrs Pointing “offered her unreserved apologies to the Mandley family for the experience that their mother had whilst in hospital.

“Mrs Pointing accepted that, overall, it had not been a good experience for all concerned”.

Former wartime nurse Stella Mandley died in Hinchingbrooke Hospital after what her son claimed was neglect and lack of adequate care by staff. She was suffering from colon cancer and was admitted on two separate occasions.

Both Mr Mandley and his brother Malcolm were invited to attend the meeting at Hinchingbroke on October 25. Also present were Ms Katja Weinert and Richard Lague of the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service and Sarah Thomas, complaints and claims co-ordinator.

John Mandley of Waterfields, Chatteris, said he was astonished at the meeting to be asked to consider volunteering as a patient/carer representative.

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He said: “Why would I want to do that when I have seen how my mother was treated? It would bring back all the bad memories.”

He also turned down a suggestion that he should have counselling to enable him to move on in his life.

“I don’t need counselling - all I need is the answers to my questions,” he said. “There is still a lot of things need looking into in that hospital.”

A letter outlining the main points of the meeting says changes have already been made since Mrs Mandley’s stay including the appointment of lead nurses to look at what happens on a ward and to measure performance.

The lead nurses also work at weekends so relatives can speak to them about any concerns and Mr Mandley’s experiences is being used as a ‘point of learning’.

At the meeting Mr Mandley had said that whenever he walked into the isolation ward, nurses were at the desk chatting.

The report of that meeting notes that the “Mandleys’ experience had flagged up a number of issues to be addressed and that the trust was keen to do so”.

Mrs Pointing also admitted that a delay of three days in his mother’s swallow assessment had been “unacceptable”. She said all nurses in the stroke unit had now been trained to make sure a swallow assessment was done within 24 hours.

Ms Pointing said she regretted she had not been made aware of the family’s concerns at the time of Mrs Mandley’s admission and it was agreed that it would be used as a patient story for the future “as it was very powerful”.

When asked at the meeting about the impact of the hospital’s �40million debt on care and staffing levels, Ms Pointing said “this had no impact whatsoever on the care or treatment provided for patients and staffing levels were not affected as a result of this debt”.

Mrs Mandley said: “I am not going to let this rest. I still feel as if there should be an inquiry into what happened. No one has been held responsible for these things.

“How could I talk to other people at the hospital when I don’t have answers myself? My mum never went into hospital to die”.

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