YORK Hospital staff told an injured 96-year-old there was no bed for her and that they may not have time to feed her, her son has claimed.
Robin Barker claimed his mother was facing a night on a trolley in an A&E corridor following a four-hour wait for an X-ray until he decided to pay for her to go to the private Nuffield Hospital.
He said up to eight ambulances were parked outside York Hospital’s A&E department on that evening – Monday, January 28 – with crews unable to leave because their patients were stuck in the logjam. His mother had been brought to hospital after a fall.
He said: “An ambulance manager was tearing his hair out because they couldn’t get the ambulances out to deal with other calls.”
After spending two days at the Nuffield, a bed became available at York Hospital and she was transferred.
Shs was suffering from a crushed vertebrae and unable to sit up and feed herself, but staff on a ward told him they could not guarantee they could feed her because they didn’t have the time to do it.
“I got the impression that the norovirus crisis and staff sickness were contributory factors, but that this was not a totally abnormal situation.”
Mr Barker, of Sheriff Hutton, said he and other family members had ended up going to the hospital three times a day for a week to ensure she did get fed.
“But what would have happened if she hadn’t had any relatives willing and able to do this?” he asked.
“If I knowingly placed food for my animals where they could not acccess it and they became malnourished as a result, I would contravene animal welfare legislation. Why shouldn’t similar standards apply for human beings?”
He also claimed that when he tried to contact members of senior management last weekend, after the norovirus had spread to his mother’s ward, he was told that none were available.
“It is symptomatic of NHS management deficiencies that in the middle of a norovirus crisis, with wards closed to new admissions, there were no members of senior management there over the weekend,” he said.
“I would like to say I do not blame the nursing staff on the ward, as it appears they just do not have the time to do what needs to be done.”
Libby McManus, chief nurse at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “We take Mr Barker’s concerns seriously and have met with him to discuss these concerns. Throughout Mrs Barker’s stay in hospital her consultant has been in daily contact with Mr Barker regarding his mother’s condition.
“The hospital is currently on red alert, and has been for the past three weeks.
“We accept that last weekend was the busiest weekend of the winter so far and was particularly busy in both the areas this patient was cared for.
“Staff were doing their utmost to manage the influx of patients and balance priorities, supported by senior managers who are always available all weekend through the on-call system.”