Pensioner Elizabeth Spencer: ‘I was left to fend for myself at BRI’

Pensioner Elizabeth Spencer who has received an apology from BRI chief nurse Juliette Greenwood over her care

Pensioner Elizabeth Spencer who has received an apology from BRI chief nurse Juliette Greenwood over her care

First published in News by , T&A Reporter

A pensioner has spoken out about her “horrendous” days where she was left to fend for herself, “alone, confused and worried” on a ward at Bradford Royal Infirmary.

Elizabeth Spencer, 74, who was admitted with stomach pains, is now lodging an official complaint with the hospital trust in the hope other patients will get better care than she did.

Mrs Spencer, of Wibsey, said during her three-day stay in February on the acute surgical admissions unit she was told off by a doctor when her sheets became soiled with blood, ignored by nurses and had to clean the floor round her bed.

After the Telegraph & Argus, which has been championing dignity for older people through its With Respect campaign, contacted Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust about Mrs Spencer’s concerns, it said it would be contacting her as a matter of urgency and apologised in advance.

Chief Nurse Juliette Greenwood, said: “The Foundation Trust is very disappointed to hear of Mrs Spencer’s complaint following her recent treatment at the Bradford Royal Infirmary and will be contacting her direct, as a matter of urgency, to discuss her patient experience.

“I would like to apologise, in advance, if we failed to provide Mrs Spencer with an appropriate standard of care.”

Mrs Spencer’s complaint includes claims she was told off by a doctor when her cannula came out covering her bedsheets in blood and that nurses repeatedly failed to respond to her buzzer although she was in a bed too high to get out of and had been given medication to clear her bowels.

On one occasion she said she was ringing the buzzer for 15 minutes before finally giving up and having to sort herself out.

She said: “No-one came so I turned it off. I washed myself in the best way I could and cleaned the floor – I was still attached to a drip.”

Mrs Spencer, whose husband Stanley died from cancer six years ago, said it happened again but when a nurse did eventually come to look round the curtain she disappeared and 30 minutes later had still not come back “I had to clean up the best I could again. The nurse eventually came back but once she realised I had cleaned myself, the floor and changed my nightclothes she went away again.”

“My first few days were horrendous, I shouldn’t have been treated like that,” said Mrs Spencer .

“There were older people than me on that ward. It was difficult enough for me to cope with that lack of care but for anyone bedridden I dread to think what it would have been like. Someone needs to take responsibility for how that ward was being run, they need to shape up and give the decent dignified care that patients need.”

She was transferred to Ward 11 for the last few days of her stay and said it was like being in a different hospital all together, well-run and organised.

She added: “A few days after I was discharged from the BRI I got a phone call from them cancelling a general anaesthetic procedure because the hospital could not find my notes.

“My daughter had booked two days off work to be with me. That was back in February and I’ve heard nothing since. As far as I know my notes are still lost.”

Comments (16)

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9:15am Sat 15 Mar 14

Banni2 says...

It beggars belief that in this day and age we continue treating our senior citizens in such an appalling way, ward staff maybe overworked and under stress but that's no excuse for this poor standard of care. They should be ashamed and hope they are never treated in this shabby way. Shame on the people concerned
It beggars belief that in this day and age we continue treating our senior citizens in such an appalling way, ward staff maybe overworked and under stress but that's no excuse for this poor standard of care. They should be ashamed and hope they are never treated in this shabby way. Shame on the people concerned Banni2
  • Score: 40

9:15am Sat 15 Mar 14

mrs daffodilly says...

I think this ladies care was appalling, its bad enough you have to be in hospital .disgracefull, I think this lady should take it further has it is just not good enough, I too have had similar problems at the b.r.i. in the past, not enough caring people in the profession, although some are wonderful hats off to the chemo unit, who provided exelent care .:)
I think this ladies care was appalling, its bad enough you have to be in hospital .disgracefull, I think this lady should take it further has it is just not good enough, I too have had similar problems at the b.r.i. in the past, not enough caring people in the profession, although some are wonderful hats off to the chemo unit, who provided exelent care .:) mrs daffodilly
  • Score: 29

10:15am Sat 15 Mar 14

The Hoffster says...

I bet patients in the 3rd world get treated better in *their* hospitals than at BRI.

The staff should hang their heads in shame (if they have any that is).

Disgusting.
I bet patients in the 3rd world get treated better in *their* hospitals than at BRI. The staff should hang their heads in shame (if they have any that is). Disgusting. The Hoffster
  • Score: 18

11:55am Sat 15 Mar 14

mad matt says...

This whole story is disgusting, the NHS gets millions of pounds a year, paid for by the taxpayer, to look after people properly when they are ill.
It does make me wonder what the standard of care will be after all the cuts to the already overworked and underpaid nursing staff.
The hospital managers are still getting a decent wage but don't seem interested enough to do their job properly.
This whole story is disgusting, the NHS gets millions of pounds a year, paid for by the taxpayer, to look after people properly when they are ill. It does make me wonder what the standard of care will be after all the cuts to the already overworked and underpaid nursing staff. The hospital managers are still getting a decent wage but don't seem interested enough to do their job properly. mad matt
  • Score: 23

12:19pm Sat 15 Mar 14

Albion. says...

This is a very disturbing report. Personally I've had very good treatment there for more than ten years. However I have sometimes been surprised at the untidy conditions and I too had my notes lost! This resulted in me keeping an appointment and them not knowing why I was there, so much of my treatment history has seemingly disappeared.
This is a very disturbing report. Personally I've had very good treatment there for more than ten years. However I have sometimes been surprised at the untidy conditions and I too had my notes lost! This resulted in me keeping an appointment and them not knowing why I was there, so much of my treatment history has seemingly disappeared. Albion.
  • Score: 19

6:01pm Sat 15 Mar 14

Oscardelta says...

My Mum has just spent ten days in Calderdale Royal Hospital, the treatment there saved her life, literally! Local council are talking about closing the A & E there and reducing the bed capacity by 80 percent. This hospital is clean, well staffed with amazing staff that can not do enough for you. On this note, why are they allowing such a wonderful place to be reduced to nothing and leaving a dirty, disorganised and dreadfully managed hospital to continue! We live in Bradford but requested my Mum was taken to Calderdale simply for this reason.
My Mum has just spent ten days in Calderdale Royal Hospital, the treatment there saved her life, literally! Local council are talking about closing the A & E there and reducing the bed capacity by 80 percent. This hospital is clean, well staffed with amazing staff that can not do enough for you. On this note, why are they allowing such a wonderful place to be reduced to nothing and leaving a dirty, disorganised and dreadfully managed hospital to continue! We live in Bradford but requested my Mum was taken to Calderdale simply for this reason. Oscardelta
  • Score: 14

6:17pm Sat 15 Mar 14

steveconnor1947@live.com says...

albrough it dosent serprise me bad care&respect to the elderly is on the up&up mostly due to the biggest cuts the NHS as had it started after the war.as for records going missing mine went missing in 2008,I havent heard from the trust about mine yet people should be pushing the trust for answers
albrough it dosent serprise me bad care&respect to the elderly is on the up&up mostly due to the biggest cuts the NHS as had it started after the war.as for records going missing mine went missing in 2008,I havent heard from the trust about mine yet people should be pushing the trust for answers steveconnor1947@live.com
  • Score: 7

7:25pm Sat 15 Mar 14

Albion. says...

Oscardelta wrote:
My Mum has just spent ten days in Calderdale Royal Hospital, the treatment there saved her life, literally! Local council are talking about closing the A & E there and reducing the bed capacity by 80 percent. This hospital is clean, well staffed with amazing staff that can not do enough for you. On this note, why are they allowing such a wonderful place to be reduced to nothing and leaving a dirty, disorganised and dreadfully managed hospital to continue! We live in Bradford but requested my Mum was taken to Calderdale simply for this reason.
Who do you mean by "they"? Calderdale Royal is run by the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust. They borrowed a fortune to open it in 2001.
Bradford Royal Infirmary is run by a group which includes St Lukes. I don't blame you for going there by the way.
[quote][p][bold]Oscardelta[/bold] wrote: My Mum has just spent ten days in Calderdale Royal Hospital, the treatment there saved her life, literally! Local council are talking about closing the A & E there and reducing the bed capacity by 80 percent. This hospital is clean, well staffed with amazing staff that can not do enough for you. On this note, why are they allowing such a wonderful place to be reduced to nothing and leaving a dirty, disorganised and dreadfully managed hospital to continue! We live in Bradford but requested my Mum was taken to Calderdale simply for this reason.[/p][/quote]Who do you mean by "they"? Calderdale Royal is run by the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust. They borrowed a fortune to open it in 2001. Bradford Royal Infirmary is run by a group which includes St Lukes. I don't blame you for going there by the way. Albion.
  • Score: 10

7:51pm Sat 15 Mar 14

Lizzydripping says...

I despair. What happens when a patient is too frail to 'sort herself out' and has no family or advocate to fight her corner? It scares me that I may ever find myself in this position
I despair. What happens when a patient is too frail to 'sort herself out' and has no family or advocate to fight her corner? It scares me that I may ever find myself in this position Lizzydripping
  • Score: 15

10:32pm Sat 15 Mar 14

lazybeat says...

the place needs to be shut down if it cant handle basic care.
the place needs to be shut down if it cant handle basic care. lazybeat
  • Score: 5

7:41am Sun 16 Mar 14

Ratters Rat says...

The treatment my auntie recieved was totally disgusting on the ward where she died. She wasn't treated with dignity we had to beg for pain killers they didn't have a pump available to administer the drugs she needed. Ask for something to eat they gave her porriage which would have been better used on a building site. One day she was so ill she was screaming with pain they called the family because they didn't know how to calm her down.The asked the family to go see the doctors waited several hours for doctors that never turned up.To make a complaint is full of red tape write a letter here pay to see her notes. They need to make it simple they need to stop all this red tape data protection attitude. Tell the truth hold their hands up at mistakes knowone is perfect.
As for Calderdale Royal A & E they treat their patients with dignity that's why people ask to go there. To shut that or Huddersfield is madness lives will be lost just to save money.
The treatment my auntie recieved was totally disgusting on the ward where she died. She wasn't treated with dignity we had to beg for pain killers they didn't have a pump available to administer the drugs she needed. Ask for something to eat they gave her porriage which would have been better used on a building site. One day she was so ill she was screaming with pain they called the family because they didn't know how to calm her down.The asked the family to go see the doctors waited several hours for doctors that never turned up.To make a complaint is full of red tape write a letter here pay to see her notes. They need to make it simple they need to stop all this red tape data protection attitude. Tell the truth hold their hands up at mistakes knowone is perfect. As for Calderdale Royal A & E they treat their patients with dignity that's why people ask to go there. To shut that or Huddersfield is madness lives will be lost just to save money. Ratters Rat
  • Score: 8

2:04pm Sun 16 Mar 14

sorrow&anger says...

This frightening story confirms that the CQC were right when they condemned BRI as one of the worst hospitals in the country.

BRI is just another part of the Bradford disease of poor performance and underachievement coupled with an inability to make things better. Nobody will want to invest in a City where the basics, such as decent healthcare and education, are so irretrievably bad.
This frightening story confirms that the CQC were right when they condemned BRI as one of the worst hospitals in the country. BRI is just another part of the Bradford disease of poor performance and underachievement coupled with an inability to make things better. Nobody will want to invest in a City where the basics, such as decent healthcare and education, are so irretrievably bad. sorrow&anger
  • Score: 10

2:18pm Sun 16 Mar 14

Grumpygirl says...

The Chief Nurse want to discuss Mrs Spencer's 'patient experience'! Hospitals used to be full of doctors and nurses who treated people as human beings and cared about making them better. Now, instead of a Matron, we have a 'Chief Nurse' spouting management speak. This is what the Tories creeping privatisation has done to our hospital.
The Chief Nurse want to discuss Mrs Spencer's 'patient experience'! Hospitals used to be full of doctors and nurses who treated people as human beings and cared about making them better. Now, instead of a Matron, we have a 'Chief Nurse' spouting management speak. This is what the Tories creeping privatisation has done to our hospital. Grumpygirl
  • Score: 3

4:57pm Sun 16 Mar 14

RollandSmoke says...

lazybeat wrote:
the place needs to be shut down if it cant handle basic care.
And be replaced by what? Come on let's have the true agenda of these stories that highlight the very worst of what can happen which admittedly is inexcusable whilst totally ignoring the fantastic work done done by the vast majority of NHS staff the vast majority of the time despite having to deal with ever lower levels of funding and constant governmental interference. Regardless of what subject you wish to speak about there will always be examples of things going wrong and bad practice. To turn that into a generalisation in order to turn public opinion against an institution or group of people is an idiotic way of making a point but it happens all the time on here and I for one don't believe that readers are daft enough to fall for the "look at this little error and ignore the picture as a whole" argument any more. Would you portray all Doctors as potential murderers? If not why not?, you have Harold Shipman to use as your example. If you think your health will be better served by a capitalist looking at you as a customer and constantly striving to maximise their profit from you then you are either a fool or a Tory trying to push an agenda.
[quote][p][bold]lazybeat[/bold] wrote: the place needs to be shut down if it cant handle basic care.[/p][/quote]And be replaced by what? Come on let's have the true agenda of these stories that highlight the very worst of what can happen which admittedly is inexcusable whilst totally ignoring the fantastic work done done by the vast majority of NHS staff the vast majority of the time despite having to deal with ever lower levels of funding and constant governmental interference. Regardless of what subject you wish to speak about there will always be examples of things going wrong and bad practice. To turn that into a generalisation in order to turn public opinion against an institution or group of people is an idiotic way of making a point but it happens all the time on here and I for one don't believe that readers are daft enough to fall for the "look at this little error and ignore the picture as a whole" argument any more. Would you portray all Doctors as potential murderers? If not why not?, you have Harold Shipman to use as your example. If you think your health will be better served by a capitalist looking at you as a customer and constantly striving to maximise their profit from you then you are either a fool or a Tory trying to push an agenda. RollandSmoke
  • Score: 0

12:57pm Mon 17 Mar 14

BILLTILL says...

This hospital is a national scandal .The CEO should resign immediately together with this so called senior nurse .
My father died as a direct result of the total lack of care and failure of ward processes .You try to complain though and they just cover up whatever happened because they know dispite making a number of errors trying to prove them guilty is made next to impossible .They sent my father home in a taxi saying he was fine when he left ,this was after they were told they must send him in an ambulance .He arrived home in the taxi in agony not knowing where he was and unable to walk but they said this all happened and he declined to such a state in the 25 minute trip home .There are also many other problems I could highlight with the treatment he received (or did not receive ) but it would take me pages to go through them all .
It is time this hospital and the management and staff were held more accountable !!!
This hospital is a national scandal .The CEO should resign immediately together with this so called senior nurse . My father died as a direct result of the total lack of care and failure of ward processes .You try to complain though and they just cover up whatever happened because they know dispite making a number of errors trying to prove them guilty is made next to impossible .They sent my father home in a taxi saying he was fine when he left ,this was after they were told they must send him in an ambulance .He arrived home in the taxi in agony not knowing where he was and unable to walk but they said this all happened and he declined to such a state in the 25 minute trip home .There are also many other problems I could highlight with the treatment he received (or did not receive ) but it would take me pages to go through them all . It is time this hospital and the management and staff were held more accountable !!! BILLTILL
  • Score: 3

11:42am Fri 28 Mar 14

Mike Strutter says...

Oscardelta wrote:
My Mum has just spent ten days in Calderdale Royal Hospital, the treatment there saved her life, literally! Local council are talking about closing the A & E there and reducing the bed capacity by 80 percent. This hospital is clean, well staffed with amazing staff that can not do enough for you. On this note, why are they allowing such a wonderful place to be reduced to nothing and leaving a dirty, disorganised and dreadfully managed hospital to continue! We live in Bradford but requested my Mum was taken to Calderdale simply for this reason.
I too live in Bradford (Q'bury) and wouldn't touch BRI with a barge pole.

My children were born in Halifax and on occasions we have needed A&E we make sure we go to Calderdale.
[quote][p][bold]Oscardelta[/bold] wrote: My Mum has just spent ten days in Calderdale Royal Hospital, the treatment there saved her life, literally! Local council are talking about closing the A & E there and reducing the bed capacity by 80 percent. This hospital is clean, well staffed with amazing staff that can not do enough for you. On this note, why are they allowing such a wonderful place to be reduced to nothing and leaving a dirty, disorganised and dreadfully managed hospital to continue! We live in Bradford but requested my Mum was taken to Calderdale simply for this reason.[/p][/quote]I too live in Bradford (Q'bury) and wouldn't touch BRI with a barge pole. My children were born in Halifax and on occasions we have needed A&E we make sure we go to Calderdale. Mike Strutter
  • Score: 1

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