Frail pensioner, 82, left slumped in hospital waiting room for 12 hours after fall

Wendy Parsons, 82, had already been discharged from the same hospital on the afternoon before her fall after showing symptoms of an infection. The mum of three was found lying on the floor of her home in Wallasey, Merseyside, and had a large bruise on her head, so she was dashed back to Arrowe Park Hospital in nearby Birkenhead. 

Wendy, a retired carer, had CT scans and an X-ray but was then left in a waiting room for more than 12 hours until a bed became available.

Her daughter Colette Clarke, who took her to A&E, said: “I just think that is a disgusting way to treat an 82-year-old woman with dementia, and who also has arthritis, COPD and heart failure.

“She was taken for various CT scans and an X-ray, but then it was back to the waiting room. We were there from 11am until around midnight before a bed became available.”

Colette told Liverpool Echo she believes her mother was given an “unsafe discharge” from the hospital the previous day, following her three-night stay to recover from the suspected infection. Colette, also from Wallasey, believes Wendy was still showing signs of infection as she was “completely zonked out” and appeared confused.

But hospital staff were sure any symptoms of an infection had reduced.

“My mum is still at the stage where normally she can make a cup of tea or a sandwich, she is still funny and seems very blasé about her illness, so she was nowhere near her baseline when they discharged her,” Colette continued.

“My brother (who lives with Wendy to help care for her) came down at around 6am and found her on the floor.

“The room looked like a tornado had been through it, I think she had thrown everything around in her confusion.”

A £28 million urgent care and A&E facility opened last year at Arrowe Park Hospital, which has around 900 beds, but the Care Quality Commission (CQC) recently expressed concern about training and staffing levels at the centre.

The inspectors’ report read: “The medical care service did not always have enough staff to care for patients.

“Not all staff had training in key skills, mandatory training compliance for medical staff did not meet trust targets.

“Staff did not always identify and quickly act upon patients at risk of deterioration in the urgent and emergency department waiting room.

“People could not always access the service when they needed it. Patients did not always receive timely care and treatment. Waiting times were not always in line with national standards.”

A spokeswoman for Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Arrowe Park, said: “We endeavour to ensure we provide patients with the best possible care in our hospitals and while we can’t discuss details of individual patients, we can offer assurance that we have robust processes in place to ensure patients are discharged safely.

“Each patient is thoroughly assessed and provided with a care plan on discharge.

“Like other Trusts nationally we are experiencing an extremely busy period in our Emergency Department and we therefore prioritise those patients who are in the most urgent need of care which regretfully can mean a longer wait for some of our other patients.

“Our Senior Nursing Team will be in contact with the family to offer support, investigate their concerns and ensure that any lessons are learnt to improve patient experience.”

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