A daughter spent £1,000 hiring private carers to look after her dying mother because NHS nurses failed to provide the attention she needed.
By Daily Telegraph Reporter
12:52AM BST 24 Oct 2011
Annette Townend took action after a doctor warned that 82-year-old Sheila Smith could die within days “if something wasn’t done”.
The great-grandmother’s liver and kidneys were failing because she had not been eating or drinking properly.
So Mrs Townend, 55, instructed professional carers to pretend they were relatives of Mrs Smith as they looked after her at Bradford Royal Infirmary.
They did two-hour stints three times a day for nine days, sitting with Mrs Smith, feeding her and giving her fluids. With their help, and the benefit of a fluid drip attached by the doctor, Mrs Smith made a remarkable recovery and was able to leave hospital three weeks later.
Mrs Townend told the Daily Mail: “I am certain my mother would have died if the carers had not come in and looked after her.
“I have always voted Conservative and I am concerned that David Cameron seems to think that the NHS trusts are doing all right. He needs to know the truth. From what I saw the elderly are getting terrible treatment. Unless there is a relative or friend to come in and help look after them, they have no chance.”
Mrs Smith, a widow, was taken to hospital after collapsing unconscious at her home in Baildon, near Bradford, with a heart problem. There were 28 elderly patients on her ward, with about half suffering from dementia.
Mrs Townend said: “There were usually about six nurses on the ward. They were understaffed and overworked.
“She (Mrs Smith) and other patients were also left in soiled bedding for hours. It’s just not good enough.”
One Tuesday a doctor told a relative that unless there was a change Mrs Smith would not live until the Saturday.
She was put on a drip for fluids and Mrs Townend hired the carers from a company which specialises in looking after the elderly.
She said: “I thought she was going to die, they just weren’t doing enough to look after her. I worked for the NHS for 15 years and never thought I would see a situation like this.”
A spokesman for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are sorry to learn of Mrs Townend’s concerns about her mother’s care.
“We set high standards for ourselves and aim to get every patient’s treatment and care right, and in most cases we do.”