HOSPITAL staff who left a distressed elderly patient freezing in the car park wearing just a gown and underwear have been slammed by the ombudsman.
Gladys Peggy Ali was taken to the Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough, after having a fall at her home in Oldfield Road, Bickley, and asked nurses to phone her son and let him know.
But her son Carroll Blackford says he did not get a call until the next morning, 11-and-a-half hours after she had been admitted.
And then only found out what had happened to her by going to the hospital.
When Mr Blackford arrived he saw his mother, who was 89 at the time, sitting in a wheelchair outside, waiting to be put into an ambulance and taken home.
She was dressed only in her underwear, a hospital gown and had a very thin blanket around her shoulders.
Her clothes were stuffed into a bag which had been placed on her lap.
Mr Blackford, of Mountview Road, Orpington, said: “She was shaken up and distressed and she thought I’d abandoned her and I said I had only just found out about what had happened.
“They took away her dignity.
“She was at the hospital without any family members knowing she was there.”
And 11 months after the incident on November 9, 2011, his mother was discharged again wearing just a hospital gown and her underwear.
The 65-year-old wants the hospital to make sure this will not happen to his mother or any other patient again.
He said: “They have given assurances but it is a hollow gesture, words are cheap and actions speak louder than words.”
And in his report Martin Pike, the interim director of health investigations at the health service ombudsman, said: “I have found service failure on the part of the Trust, with regard to the failure of nursing staff to contact Mrs Ali’s son in a timely way, and the failure of nursing staff to ensure that Mrs Ali was appropriately dressed on discharge.
“When her son was not contacted on her arrival in A&E, Mrs Ali told us it was very frightening. I have no doubt this was a distressing experience, and this was an injustice to her.
“Mrs Ali’s son told us when he found his mother sitting outside in the cold weather she was freezing and in a very distressed state. This was clearly an unpleasant and distressing experience for Mrs Ali, and an injustice to her.”
A spokeswoman for South London Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the PRUH, said: “We would like to apologise to Mrs Ali for any distress she may have experienced in 2011.
“Since this complaint, we have reviewed our discharge policies to ensure that patients are appropriately dressed on leaving the hospital.”
Mr Blackford has been invited to a meeting with the chief executive and the heads of department about his complaints next Wednesday (April 10).