CASEWORK as a councillor, or as an MP, means listening to people’s stories, understanding, and taking action where possible to help. 

Systems go wrong, and real people like you or me, or our friends, or family members can be affected in ways that those ‘in charge’ cannot foretell, and sometimes either do not seem to understand, or prefer to ignore.

Two weeks ago I heard from a lady whose elderly mother had a fall, fractured her hip and ended up in the RUH. ‘No news’ here you might say but read on.

“My mother found herself moved around to different wards and for the last two days was on a ward with male patients at one end and females at the other.

“There was no physical barrier to prevent the male patients from wandering at will. It was an old people’s ward so numerous patients appeared to be suffering from dementia. The noise was unbearable, as was the lack of privacy.

“It was on this occasion that a male patient with dementia forced his way into my mother’s curtained area when I was undressing her for bed. He was loud and forceful and with the help of two nurses he was after some time removed.

“My mother was extremely distressed and frightened. It was after this incident coupled with my mother being taken to the toilet by a male assistant (she did not give permission) that the family decided to move her to a private nursing home.”

The distress was not over however, as after her GP was notified and initially agreed to keep her as a patient, when the surgery was contacted again a few days later to arrange for the doctor to visit and provide her regular prescriptions, they then reneged on this as she had ‘moved out of area.’

So, after over 30 years the doctor who called the ambulance and sent her to the RUH has had no contact, even to follow up her hip fracture!

When I raised this with an officer from the independent Charity Health Watch, I was told that such situations are sadly all too common. Clearly something is wrong with our NHS and our care system, something that is affected by, but goes beyond, a lack of funding.

Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for North Wiltshire