Daughter criticises hospital as dad's prophecy comes true

PUBLISHED: 10:00 08 June 2013

James and Susanne Bollen

James and Susanne Bollen

Archant

A FORMER NHS employee has described Weston General Hospital as the worst she has encountered in her 30-year career, after her father's prophecy he would die there came true.

James Bollen, aged 92, died on Thursday after contracting three illnesses during his four-week stay.

His daughter Jane Gill, who has worked at 10 different hospitals, said she has never seen such poor patient care, cleanliness or empathy from staff.

She said Weston Area Health Trust was so short-staffed she thought Tesco probably had more employees working at a weekend.

Mrs Gill said: “I have never seen such disregard for patients, relatives and a lack of cleanliness.

“I have been retired five years having worked in a chemotherapy ward and know how important hygiene is.”

Widow Susanne Bollen said by the end she hardly recognised her husband of 62 years and regretted the trust did not agree to move him to Clevedon Hospital, as she asked.

She said the whole experience was ‘harrowing’, adding: “The last thing he said to me was: ‘Food, food.’ I’ll never forget that.”

Mr Bollen was taken to hospital on April 29 after catching the norovirus. His health improved but after moving onto the Kewstoke Ward he contracted hospital pneumonia, septicaemia and boils.

Mrs Gill said he was well looked after by staff in the hospital’s high care Harptree Ward but deteriorated once moved.

Mr Bollen was placed on a mixed-sex ward and while there lost his hearing aid and glasses.

More serious concerns were raised over a lack of food, water and medication for his Parkinson’s disease, partly because the illnesses’ specialist nurse was away on leave without any cover arranged.

He also could not reach an alarm to call nurses and was out of sight of their work station.

She added: “They just couldn’t be bothered. We have had all the excuses.

“There was no doctor to talk to us after he died. It isn’t being properly run as a hospital. I can see why it is in trouble (financially).

“It is filthy and dirty. The corridors are dirty and there’s rubbish on the floor.

“They didn’t care about my dad. If you are that sick you should be transferred to a more acute hospital.

“My dad said: ‘If I go to Weston General Hospital I will die in there’. That’s exactly what happened.

“If I treated my patients like that they wouldn’t be alive today.”

The family have made a formal complaint to the trust’s chief executive Nick Wood.

A hospital spokesman said: “The Trust would like to express its condolences to Mr Bollen’s family. We are in receipt of their complaint and have commenced our investigation.

“We cannot discuss any individual case while an investigation is ongoing. However, we are able to address some of the general points raised.

“The hospital has an excellent cleanliness record. We have scored ‘good’ for cleanliness over the past five years.

“We have addressed the matter of staffing levels ourselves. We agreed additional spending on nursing assistants, an out-of-hours nursing sister and registered mental health nurses, as well as additional spending on nursing next winter - making a total investment of £1.7million.

“Nurse staffing levels are important for ensuring maximum patient safety and quality of care, and those are always our priorities.

“The Trust would also like to advise that no-one is ever refused the opportunity to speak to a member of staff here about their concerns.”

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