Woman 'left in pain by nurses' at West Suffolk Hospital

Jane Dixey
Image caption Jane Dixey was called a party pooper after she complained about loud music

An elderly woman was left in extreme pain when nurses at a Suffolk hospital did not come to her aid and was called a "party pooper" for requesting a radio be turned down, a report has stated.

Jane Dixey spent more than two weeks at the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds after a fall in February.

Her experiences are included in the Patients Association's report into poor care in England's hospitals.

The hospital said it carried out a "full and thorough investigation".

In the report, We've Been Listening, Have You Been Learning?, Mrs Dixey's daughter, Jo Jacques, said her mother was not treated with the dignity she deserved.

She said her mother wanted to be moved from a chair but was left in "extreme discomfort and pain" for an hour because nurses did not respond to her bell call and on another visit had not been given a drink for several hours.

'Distressing music'

The ward was a "chaotic place, with bells left unanswered", unless a particular and exceptional sister was in charge, she added.

Her mother was given a bowl of cold water for a wash and told to get on with it, Mrs Jacques said.

Mrs Dixey had found it "very distressing" that Radio 1 was played loudly on the ward, apparently for the benefit of the nurses and not the elderly patients.

"When she asked them to turn the music down she was described as a party pooper," said Mrs Jacques.

Mrs Dixey was discharged on 22 February and died on 5 April.

Her daughters "vigorously pursued a complaint to ensure such poor care of the elderly did not continue" but felt the hospital did not really answer their concerns, said the report.

The hospital's chief executive Stephen Graves said: "The observations made by Mrs Jacques have been raised with our staff and we can assure her the lessons have been learnt."

He added that an investigation of her notes revealed Mrs Dixey was regularly offered fluids and was not dehydrated.

"We are committed to ensuring all of our patients are treated with dignity."

The Patients Association's report contains first hand experiences of 16 patients at hospitals across England.

Katherine Murphy, the charity's chief executive, said: "The issues we continue to highlight are human rights issues.

"They show a lack of compassion and care and a shameful attitude to treatment of the elderly."

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