Being stuck in hospital is an unhealthy precedent

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Worried husband Don Cleavin said he and his wife Pauline were left ‘demoralised’ after Mrs Cleavin was stuck in Queen Alexandra Hospital unnecessarily for three nights despite being well enough to be allowed home.

Mrs Cleavin had had a hip replacement operation and was declared fit enough to leave, but was delayed at first by social services taking two days to come and assess her, and then by the wrong type of transport being booked, which led to a third extra night in hospital.

All the while, she and Mr Cleavin were, as they tell us today, in ‘anguish and despair’ waiting for the saga to end.

If this were just an isolated case it would be upsetting enough for those concerned, but the worry over this runs deeper.

While we fully accept that mistakes happen in all walks of life and all fields of employment, the focus needs to be turned on this incident because of what it may tell us about the NHS locally.

We know that bed-blocking is a major problem at QA – as it is in other hospitals around the country. And we know that bed-blocking also has knock-on effects across the rest of the hospital. It’s been one of the factors cited as contributing to delays in the casualty department, as patients get ‘stuck’ in A&E, and in turn this leads to ambulances having to wait to discharge patients and being tied up in the QA car park.

As we say, mistakes can happen to anyone and at any time. But we hope that this story will see managers at QA investigate whether any more people have been stuck at the hospital for no good reason – and to take urgent steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Because otherwise it’ll be more than just the Cleavins who are left demoralised.

It’ll be all of us.

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