'No Dignity' for Dad at Bucks Hospital

9 November 2011, 05:00 | Updated: 9 November 2011, 07:38

A 77-year-old man was told to eat his ice-cream with his fingers because there were no spoons on the Buckinghamshire hospital ward he was staying in.

Michael Groves, 77, was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

His daughter Carole Brown - a former nurse - said he was left without blankets and pillows at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and she finally got him a spoon for his dessert after she told a nurse to find one.

Mr Groves said privately to his family that "nobody cares in here what happens to you''.

He was also given a drug he was allergic to three times while being treated at Wycombe Hospital.

His story has been released by the Patients Association after being reported to their helpline.

Ms Brown said Mr Groves was not treated with dignity or respect during his stay. She said that on one occasion when he was in pain, "I checked with the nurse who was supposedly looking after him, and asked her when he last had pain relief. She said that he had not had any, as he would have refused it.

"I found this very difficult to believe and asked her to give him some immediately, which of course he didn't refuse.''

On another occasion, Ms Brown asked a nurse to bring a bed pan. "She left him and he seemed to be taking a very long time, so I went and checked on him only to find she had not given him the buzzer, and had therefore just had to sit on the bedpan. Eventually we got a nurse to come and take him off.''

On the family's request, Mr Groves was moved to a hospice where he later died.

Ms Brown said: "Once in the hospice we were made to feel extremely welcome, and every care was taken of him. He was made comfortable, and although he was not responsive he was treated like a human being. He was treated with dignity and respect.

"Pain relief was administered. It was a huge difference. He was only there for an hour and half before he died, but he received more care than he had been given in three days on ward 10.''

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust said:

"We were incredibly sorry to hear Ms Brown's concerns regarding her father's experience in our hospital. Ms Brown has been in touch with the hospital and we have thoroughly investigated the matter and fed back our conclusions directly.

"We understand that it must have been a very difficult time for Mr Groves' family, and we are sorry if some of our attempts to help keep them informed were not perceived as such at the time.

"We acknowledge that there were some elements of Mr Groves' basic care that fell below the standard we expect on our wards.

"We expect our staff to care for patients with courtesy and compassion and it is clear in some instances this did not happen - for which the trust and the staff involved are truly sorry.

"We have learnt from the concerns raised by Ms Brown and we have reminded our staff of their responsibility to ensure our patients have a good experience when in our care.