Patient stuck at QA despite being ready to go home

Pauline and Don Cleavin at home in their Gosport flat. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150208-157)
Pauline and Don Cleavin at home in their Gosport flat. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150208-157)

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A WOMAN recovering from a hip replacement operation was left ‘demoralised’ after being forced to stay in hospital despite being well enough to go home.

Pauline Cleavin, 75, was kept in Queen Alexandra Hospital for three extra nights.

Firstly social services failed to see her quickly to discharge her.

Then the wrong patient transport was sent – a single driver instead of a crew of two people to help Mrs Cleavin up the 30 stairs to her flat.

Pauline and her husband Don want to know how this could happen when bed blocking at the hospital is a major issue and has had a knock-on effect across the hospital.

Mr Cleavin, 76, said: ‘My wife’s departure from QA was delayed for almost three days. In spite of the desperate shortage of beds, my wife was occupying one when she was fit to go.’

Mrs Cleavin had a hip replacement, after which she stayed for 10 days for recovery and observations.

When doctors said she was medically fit to go to her home in Wickham Court, Broadsands Drive, Gosport, she was delighted.

She was told she would be seen by Hampshire County Council’s social services on February 2, but this didn’t happen until February 4.

And on February 4, South Central Ambulance Service, which runs the patient transport service, only sent a driver rather than a crew of two people and that resulted in another night’s stay.

Mr Cleavin added: ‘This problem was pointed out to nursing staff and that she would need proper trained assistance to get home.

‘My wife was conveyed to the departure lounge at QA and after more than four hours of patiently waiting while suffering from anguish and despair, patient transport did arrive.

‘Unfortunately, the driver explained he could not take her because he was a driver only and not trained or equipped to get her up the 30 steps. This resulted into even more anguish and despair and fading hopes of ever getting home again leaving us both demoralised.’

Mrs Cleavin said: ‘I just wanted to get home.

‘The staff at QA were wonderful and I couldn’t have asked for better care, but the wait in hospital totally demoralised me. We know there’s a scarcity of beds and I wanted to go home. My husband and I couldn’t believe the hold-up and want to know how this can happen.’

Mrs Cleavin praised the crew who eventually took her home. ‘They were amazing, the best and I couldn’t fault them,’ she said.

Council apologises for prolonged stay in hospital

THE authorities in charge of social services and patient transport have apologised for causing a delay.

Hampshire County Council has spent £1m to improve social care assessments to see what a patient might need in their home to keep them safe and aid a speedy recovery.

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, who is in charge of adult social care, said: ‘Over the past few months the county council has taken significant steps, working closely with staff at QA, to improve and speed up hospital discharge.

‘I’m sorry Mrs Cleavin was unhappy with the length of time it took to undertake her assessment, and that she needed to stay in the care of the hospital for two days.

‘We’re continuing to work very hard to ensure patients are seen as quickly as possible once they are medically fit to leave hospital.’

South Central Ambulance service provides the patient transport service.

A spokesman said: ‘When any patient journey doesn’t go as expected, we take it very seriously and we would like to apologise for any distress caused.

‘We would encourage the patient to contact our patient experience team with full details so a thorough investigation can be initiated.’

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