Letter: Sad times for care ward at hospital

The future of the palliative care ward at Bridlington looks uncertain.
The future of the palliative care ward at Bridlington looks uncertain.

After reading the Free Press is there a future for the palliative care ward at Brid Hospital?

I don’t think there is after reading what the Clinical Commissioning Group tell everyone, with their so unfair consultation with public giving them option A or B to decide on, which both result in the closure of the palliative care ward. I find the group’s criterion for the planning of closure to the ward extremely woolly.

Not being able to introduce another 18 beds to a hospital that is almost a new one, only built in 1993, is a poor excuse.

The group then tell us that these 18 beds will incur additional lease costs.

This is a poor excuse as bed lease costs will also still incur at Beverley Hospital.

Then for the group to inform us they have performed a bed audit, but do not give any detail or information as to how they have fundamentally performed this audit also is extremely woolly.

We are then informed by the group after performing this bed audit that three out of the 12 patients in the ward at Brid Hospital actually needed medical input and a further 50% of patients could expect and experience better quality of care in their own homes. Social care is already one almighty problem for the NHS. Research by Marie Curie into palliative care in the home, and the best ways to provide care and support to folk living with a terminal illness is a chronically underfunded area.

Provision of social care plays an important part, but the 2014 National Cancer Patient Experience Survey shows us that there is a national shortage of palliative nurses, also one in 10 people with cancer don’t have a clinical nurse specialist.

Marie Curie also report that with the right level of high-quality care, as well as support for family and carers, people can be supported to live as well as possible until they die. However, we know that people with terminal cancer and their families still go without having their needs fully identified and met in a compassionate, dignified and timely way.

Marie Curie reports that folk with blood cancers or brain tumours are more likely to be associated with unmet care and support needs.

My late dear wife was placed in palliative care in the home in July 2015, she passed away in her own home in November 2015. During her last months her palliative care treatment was one visit every two weeks, shortage of palliative care staff was common, only two visits from the clinical nurse specialist over those months, a palliative care team that cannot respond to emergencies such as seizures that my dear wife would have. On one occasion a seizure lasted 1.5 hours before being dealt with, and that was not by the palliative care team.

Because the care team could not respond to my phone call, I then had to dial 999. Referring to Actions for End of Life Care: 2015-16 NHS England. In 2010-11, the total expenditure on adult and end of life care was £460 million but there was a wide variation of expenditure on specialist palliative care between primary trusts across the country, ranging from £186 to £6,213 per death.

A considerable proportion of funding came from the voluntary sector through fundraising.

What an appalling and shameful unfair system, to think that there are trusts out there that place a price of £186 on someone’s death is despicable. My late dear wife’s palliative care in the home was not fit for the purpose, so therefore I have much concern for the folk of Brid who will be placed into palliative care in the community in the future.

Ernie Mackenzie

Gammons Lane, Watford