Bury St Edmunds: Hospital chief apologises over woman’s care

A HOSPITAL trust boss has apologised to a great-grandmother after an investigation found the care she received fell below the accepted standard.

Kathleen Rennie, 82, who lives near the Green in Belchamp St Paul, near Sudbury, said she had lost faith in West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds after she had “such a bad experience” there on October 22.

Her son Robert Rennie, of Hares Walk, Sudbury, had made an official complaint to the hospital for the way he alleged his mother had been treated, including that she had been by herself in a sideroom for hours on end with no-one checking in on her.

Following an investigation Stephen Graves, chief executive of West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust, has extended his apologies to Mrs Rennie, who had been due to have a knee replacement operation, which was cancelled.

He also said a review may now take place into the scope of tests which a patient undergoes before an operation to try and avoid operations being cancelled at the last minute.

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In his letter to Mr Rennie, he said: “It is evident from my investigation of the concerns you have raised that, on this occasion, the West Suffolk Hospital has not provided the standard of service for Mrs Rennie that we aim to achieve for our patients.

“I hope therefore you will relay my sincere apologies to Mrs Rennie for the initial delay in allocating her a bed, the lack of attention afforded her by the nursing staff, the delayed but vital identification of a heart murmur and the further delay in communicating the anaesthetist’s decision to the ward staff.”

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The anaesthetist picked up a heart murmur during his examination of Mrs Rennie. She therefore needed to have an echo-cardiogram to make sure it was safe to proceed with surgery, but as this cannot be undertaken at short notice her operation had to be cancelled.

Mr Graves said Mr Rennie’s complaint had “identified the need to consider reviewing the scope of tests undertaken at pre-assessment stage”.

Mr Rennie, 46, a father-of-one who works as a regional office manager for an independent fostering agency, said he believed the response had gone as far as possible.

He said: “I believe the fact that my mother has now been transferred to the care of Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge says it all.

“And where it was the case I was leaving some money to West Suffolk Hospital in my will following the care I received following a very serious accident back in 1998, which I have now withdrawn, again shows just how my respect for the hospital has plunged.”

His mother, who has eight children, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, said she was much happier with the level of care she was receiving at Addenbrooke’s, where she is due to have her operation.

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