Hospital says sorry after four-hour wait for a bed

Mary Rowbottom
Mary Rowbottom

A grandmother has received an apology after having to wait more than four hours for a bed at Chorley Hospital.

Mary Rowbottom, 70, a former NHS worker for 40 years, had made a formal complaint to health bosses.

In a reply, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, admitted she had suffered “unacceptable standards of care”.

Mrs Rowbottom, who lives with her husband Alan on St Peters Street, Chorley, was admitted to the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) at the hospital direct from her GP at 11.40am after suffering pain to her left hand and arm.

She said the female unit appeared to be a five-bed unit, but had 10 patients waiting for treatment or admission.

“I was on a casualty trolley and the rest of us on chairs,” she pointed out.

“A lady with an ECG machine called out my name but was unable to ‘do’ me because I was not lying down.

“At 4pm I asked my husband to lie me on the floor before I collapsed.

“This would have been difficult because there were at least two patients per bay. Eventually the sister found me a bed.”

She also complained: “Some patients were seen in the corridors created by closing bedside curtains, sat on hard back standing chairs.”

She described getting a bed on the short stay unit was like ‘winning the lottery’ and that “some semblance of calm, peaceful treatment expected by patients was restored”.

Mrs Rowbottom, a former nursing sister, health visitors and community teacher of health visiting in the community, said she had no complaints about staff or her treatment.

“It was about the beds. It was just so horrendous,” she said.

Mrs Rowbottom, who said she sensed “low staff morale” and feared for the future of the hospital, told the trust: “The National Health Service is the most wonderful system ever, but the management, culture and political interference is reducing it to a farce.”

Replying to her complaint, trust chief executive Karen Partington, said a detailed investigation had been carried out.

She said; “At the outset, I would like to acknowledge that we did not meet your expectations and to apologise for the anxieties and distress your experience caused.”

She said she accepted Mrs Rowbottom had needed a bed and apologised for the delay.

She added: “Generally the number of patient admissions at Chorley does not increase and therefore the vast majority of the time there is sufficient space within MAU to see and treat the patients.

“Unfortunately there are occasions when it is difficult to cope with the level and timing of admission and I am sorry that it would appear on this occasion you were subject to delay and unacceptable standards of care.

“With regard to staffing, I can give assurance that all staff have been briefed and assure that their jobs are safe and can confirm that we have just agreed a further 26 nursing posts on the wards in recognition of the changing patients needs.”