A concerned daughter has questioned Borders General Hospital’s standard of care following the treatment of her 82-year-old step-father.
Jackie Foster claims Derek Barrett had to wait eight-and-a-half hours in the accident and emergency department before finally being given a bed last weekend with severe vomiting.
The next day, she says, her step-dad was given no liquids despite an endoscopy procedure being cancelled, leaving the pensioner badly dehydrated.
Mrs Foster, who formerly worked for the NHS in Newcastle, says it was only after she suggested Mr Barrett displayed symptoms of a urine infection that a drink and infusion bag were provided.
Mrs Foster told The Southern: “The staff are clearly very busy and there does appear to be some staffing issues. But there was still not the appropriate level of care available.
“What should be getting done is not and it should not require a layperson to suggest a diagnosis.”
She has drafted a complaint about both incidents which will be submitted to NHS Borders, describing the process as “dreadful”.
But the health board, while admitting some patients waited too long, praised A&E staff for their efforts during a challenging weekend.
Mrs Foster, plus Mr Barrett and her 80-year-old mother Sybil Barrett, who both live at Oakwood Park sheltered housing in Galashiels, attended the BGH by ambulance at 10am on Sunday.
After he was seen by a doctor, the family were advised it might be a couple of hours before Mr Barrett got a bed because the department was extremely busy.
Instead, Mr Barrett had to wait without a pillow until 6.30pm before being admitted to ward four.
Mrs Foster said: “Had my mother and I not stayed with him to remind them that his intravenous drip needed replacing and asking for blankets to keep him warm, he would have just been left perched on the trolley [in A&E] with a gown hanging off his shoulders.”
Mr Barrett was due to receive an endoscopy on Monday afternoon but it was postponed.
Mrs Foster added: “When we visited that evening, he was behaving very strangely, which can be associated with urine infection.
“When I mentioned that to a staff member, they agreed it was possible, but by that stage he had spent 18 hours without a drink.
“For someone of that age to be dehydrated that long is going to have health implications. When the endoscopy was cancelled he should have been given liquid.”
Jane Davidson, NHS Borders chief operating officer told us: “The emergency department had a challenging weekend and a number of patients stayed longer than four hours. This was regrettable.
“Most patients were triaged very shortly after arrival. A high number of people attended the emergency department and this combined with clinical complexity and the frailty and dependence of patients admitted.
“Staff responded exceptionally well to a very challenging weekend.
“The care and safety of our patients is our primary concern and we will respond to any concerns that are raised directly with us.”