Hospital chiefs have promised to carry out further staff training surrounding patients’ legal rights after admitting wrongdoing in the handling of a late patient’s NHS care.
Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital apologised to the daughter of war veteran Ron Shaw when he died just days after he was refused funding for continuing healthcare.
And now daughter Carolyn Shaw is urging anyone with the legal power to make decisions about a person’s health and welfare, through a Lasting Power of Attorney, is fully aware of their rights to prevent people being “steamrollered” by the NHS.
As reported in the Lynn News last month, Mr Shaw was denied funding for an NHS Continuing Care package and plans were put in place to discharge him from the QEH’s Gayton Ward into a local nursing home.
But Miss Shaw said her 90-year-old father was “clearly dying” at the time. With end-stage kidney disease and a suprapubic catheter fitted to drain urine from his bladder, she said he was in “desperate” need of NHS hospital care.
She also said the decision to refuse funding was illegal, as it was made without her, as his Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare, being present.
She demanded the QEH halt its plans to discharge him until she could travel from her home in the Isle of Man for a meeting with hospital bosses, but Mr Shaw died a few days later on September 25.
The following Monday Miss Shaw had a meeting with hospital bosses, who apologised for the handling of his case.
Claire Roberts, the hospital’s associate director of patient experience, also pledged that more training would be carried out to make staff more aware of Lasting Power of Attorney rights.
Since her father’s death, Miss Shaw has also discovered the social services assessment used by the NHS to determine whether he was granted funded care was full of errors.
His name was not written fully, his date of birth was wrong and his gender was marked as female. It also said he was on a ‘normal’ diet, when he was on a soft diet, and could get about with a rolater, when he could barely get out of bed.
Miss Shaw said: “I could take this further legally, but what’s done is done. It’s not going to bring my father back. I just hope action is taken as promised so other people don’t go through the same.
“The NHS steamrollers you at a time when you are very vulnerable. People assume that the institute always know best but they don’t. They don’t know the person they are making decisions about, and they are sometimes given the wrong information on which to make decisions.
“People have rights, but they need to be aware of them to fight institutions when wrong decisions are made.”
A hospital spokesman said: “We are unable to discuss individual cases due to patient confidentiality.”
But it states that assessments for NHS Continuing Care are undertaken by hospital staff and social services, but any final decision is made by the relevant clinical commissioning group.