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‘It was soul destroying’ - Man criticises hospital for lack of ‘basic care’

PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:26 17 January 2020

Chris Hockley, from Thetford, has lodged an official complaint with West Suffolk Hospital. Photo: Emily Thomson

Chris Hockley, from Thetford, has lodged an official complaint with West Suffolk Hospital. Photo: Emily Thomson

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A man has described his treatment at A&E as “soul destroying” and has lodged an official complaint over its lack of “basic care”.

Chris Hockley, from Thetford, has lodged an official complaint with West Suffolk Hospital. Photo: Emily ThomsonChris Hockley, from Thetford, has lodged an official complaint with West Suffolk Hospital. Photo: Emily Thomson

Chris Hockley, from Canterbury Way in Thetford, claimed he was "brought to tears" after being left without water or a blanket and pillow at West Suffolk Hospital, and not seen by a doctor for nearly seven hours.

The hospital has apologised but said staff must prioritise treatment for the sickest patients.

The 61-year-old called the emergency services at 9.30pm on Sunday, January 5 after he began struggling to breathe and was told to go to the Bury St Edmunds hospital.

When Mr Hockley arrived at around 10pm, he was quickly seen by staff and taken to a cubicle, but said the care began to go downhill.

Chris Hockley, from Thetford, has lodged an official complaint with West Suffolk Hospital. Photo: Emily ThomsonChris Hockley, from Thetford, has lodged an official complaint with West Suffolk Hospital. Photo: Emily Thomson

He said: "I was there from 10pm until about 5am in the morning and the whole time I was there I felt alienated.

"I can understand the NHS has problems and resources are stretched but does that mean you can't get a drink of water, a blanket or a pillow and someone to pop their head in to check you're okay?

"They took my blood quite early on, but I wasn't informed what was wrong with me, so I was very concerned."

It was revealed that Mr Hockley may have been experiencing side effects of antibiotics and steroids he was taking, along with asthma, which was leaving him breathless.

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But Mr Hockley said the experience was "soul destroying" and showed a lack of "basic care".

After his visit he lodged an official complaint and has since received a letter of apology.

Alex Baldwin, deputy chief operating officer for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Mr Hockley's experience clearly fell below the standard we strive for, and we are very sorry for his extended wait and for any discomfort he had during his time in our care.

"We know there are aspects of care that should have been better, though we're pleased that we were able to care for Mr Hockley in the department and then discharge him home, where we hope he is recovering well.

"We have offered to meet Mr Hockley so we can look into his concerns further and improve our service, and we appreciate him taking the time to contact us.

"We were exceptionally busy at the time Mr Hockley came to the emergency department, and we do have to prioritise our sickest patients. This does sometimes mean some people wait longer than we would like."

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