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Elderly patient threatens hunger strike over delay in getting her home

THE relatives of an elderly lady who is a patient at Prince Philip Hospital have criticised the county council and social services departments for keeping their elderly aunt in a hospital bed for more than three months when she wanted to return to her home.

Dorothy’s niece Margaret and nephew Paul Edwards claim that their aunt has been in and out of hospital with with high blood pressure since January 2019.

Mrs Edwards said that her aunt has now been diagnosed with dementia and is waiting on care package to return home.

Mrs Edwards said: “She is still in hospital and she is very upset about it all. She just wants to go home before going to a nursing home.

“I went in yesterday and she was so depressed. She was talking about going on hunger strike. We are the only people she has left. They keep saying they have no news. She is 85 and just wants to go home to spend time in her own home. She has a touch of alzheimer’s.

We approached Nia Griffith MP for help. She has sent a form to sign for her to enquire legally about our aunt. The care package is holding up her leaving hospital. She needs care twice a day. I don’t know why they can’t do that. Why block a bed for nearly three months for the sake of a couple of carers calling? It is pitiful to see her crying.”

Mr Edwards was forthright in blaming Carmarthenshire County Council for the delay. He said: I don’t blame Prince Philip Hospital. They have been great. The problem is that the council outsource their care provision. It has to go to a third party. The county council are now holding up the process. I am told the hospital are phoning the county council daily and they are pulling their hair out.  It is not the hospital’s fault. They want to get rid of Enid as soon as possible to free up the bed.

We are constantly hearing in the media about the lack of hospital beds and here is one bed that has been unnecessarily taken up by Enid for months! Not only is this situation denying the more needy of beds but it is very distressing for the patient who is desperate to return home.

We contacted the Hywel Dda University Health Board and Carmarthenshire County Council to ask what the delay was and if the process could be speeded up to get Mrs Wright home.

Joe Teape, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Operations for Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We are unable to discuss individual patient cases however we continue to work hard to reduce delayed transfers of care and have good relationships with our local authority and third sector partners in providing care in the community as and when appropriate.”

The council’s executive board member for social care, Cllr Jane Tremlett said: “The authority has very good relationships with the Health Board and its partner organisations to ensure people assessed in need of domiciliary care are provided as soon as practicable with the appropriate standard of care on discharge. The authority recognises the challenges in securing care to vulnerable people periodically but our commitment to facilitating people’s discharge remains steadfast.”


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