A retired husband who looks after his sick wife has spoken out over a ‘lack of coordination’ in care for people who are obese.
Paul Begley’s wife Rosemary, 66, was admitted to Bedford Hospital in October suffering after having falls at home.
And Paul claims that although Rosemary received a good standard of care, there is not enough provision for obese patients in the Bedfordshire health sector.
On October 13, a doctor advised Paul to call an ambulance for his wife so that she could be taken to hospital, but a regular ambulance was unable to transport her because of her size.
Paul, 71, a retired train driver, said: “When the ambulance turned up because my wife is obese they wouldn’t take her. They had to get a special ambulance from Canvey Island which took two hours to arrive.”
He added: “The ambulance service don’t seem to have proper provision to care for people who are bigger. There are health and safety rules and anyone obese has to have a special ambulance and we just don’t have the facilities locally.”
But this week a spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service claimed that there is a plan in place for larger patients.
He said: “We have contingency plans in place when dealing with bariatric patients throughout the East of England. We work very closely with other NHS partners to deal with such incidents.”
After arriving at the hospital the couple were told that Rosemary would be admitted. Paul returned to their home in Gloucester Road, Bedford, but claims that he received a call from the hospital after midnight to say that Rosemary had been discharged.
He said: “There was no mention of the special ambulance to come and pick her up. I’m a pensioner, I’m 71 and I don’t believe that people at that time of night should be called to go to the hospital.
“I was told I could go home, they never asked me if I had transport to come and collect her. Rose couldn’t walk and it was a hell of a process getting into the ambulance. If I had come and collected her what if she’d fallen over?”
Nina Fraser, director of nursing and patient experience at Bedford Hospital, said: “The discharge of patients from the hospital is an important part of our care package and we take into account all our patients’ individual needs and circumstances when considering or planning a discharge.
“If a patient is well enough to be discharged home from A&E, but it is not deemed appropriate due to their care needs, we arrange for the patient to be transferred to a hospital bed. We are currently investigating a complaint from Mr Begley regarding his wife’s care and will be working with them to resolve the matter.”