The hospital trust which runs St Richard’s has apologised for the ‘totally unacceptable’ impact on a family after a dying man was moved seven times in a month.
Dennis Adams, 86, was admitted to Midhurst Community Hospital in December last year and transferred to St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, where he was found to be dying of kidney failure.
He moved wards a further six times before he died in early January, including a transfer to Bognor War Memorial Hospital and back within the same day.
Chief executive of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundations Trust, Marianne Griffiths wrote to Mr Adams’ daughter, Christine Stanton, to ‘wholeheartedly’ apologise for the upset caused and said a review would take place to ensure the situation does not occur again.
It read: “We will review our processes for this coming winter and ensure that both site teams and ward staff are discussing whether each patient has been moved before they act.”
She added: “I would like to say that I am truly sorry for the amount of moves that your father had and the impact that this had on him and you as a family. This was totally unacceptable.”
Mrs Stanton, who visited her father most days while he was at St Richard’s, said he was ‘agitated’ by the upheaval but stressed she had no issue with ‘brilliant’ end of life care from nurses at the hospital.
She said: “It was hard for them, they did as well as they could but I think nurses are up against it.
“I want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anybody else, but has it happened because of the overall system of what hospitals are up against, with money and overall resources?”
Dr Maggie Davies, deputy director of nursing and patient safety at the trust, said Apuldram ward, which Mr Adams was placed on twice, was an escalation ward opened at times of high admissions. The decision to open and close the ward was determined by clinical need, she said.
She said: “At the time, we had unprecedented demand for urgent care by large numbers of very sick patients and, while this does not in any way excuse what happened, it does help to explain how such an exceptional sequence of events occurred.”