Apr 27 2004
The Surrey Mirror
Another former patient of an Epsom Hospital ward slammed by a multiple sclerosis victim said it was so dirty he got out and paid £225 a day to be nursed in the private wing.
Charles Jenkins, 73, a retired Royal Naval officer rang the Post after reading a report of how an elderly woman MS sufferer was distressed by conditions in Croft Ward.
This patient - who feared being named would affect her treatment if she ever had to go into the hospital again-- was removed from the ward by her daughter.
Mr Jenkins said: "I was in there in October and it was disgusting. The place smelt dirty. The toilets and washing facilities were so bad there was dried excrement on the toilet seats and floors.
"All I saw in the way of cleaning was someone half-heartedly pushing a broom around. "I was not impressed by some of the nurses either. They seemed to spend a lot of time standing around laughing, joking and gossiping.
"All the work seemed to be done by the Phillipino nurses who were excellent and caring when on duty.
"A very sick old lady opposite me cried for help several times in the night, but no one came to her.
"I was taken into hospital with pneumonia. I was very ill. The doctors were excellent. They got to to the bottom of it but the standard of cleanliness was disgusting and I could have caught MRSA as well.
"I was so stressed by the smell, the atmosphere and also - like the lady already reported - being spoken to as if I was an idiot because I am elderly that I said to my wife: 'Please get me out of here'.
"So we paid for me to go into the Northey Wing - three days in there was over £700.
"But when you think how much I have paid into the NHS Service over the years it's disgusting that you have to pay to be rescued from one of its filthy wards.
"In the Navy I was used to very high standards of cleanliness, which I think also existed in the NHS at one time. Whatever happened to old fashioned disinfectant?
"Or is just that they do not bother with old people's wards because they think we are too daft to notice so it does not matter what conditions they are in?
"How dare they do this to the elderly.
"It's disgusting that the lady The Post already reported was too frightened to have her name printed in case she has to go back. But I certainly am not."
Mr Jenkins, like the woman patient, also loathed the mixed sex nursing both in Croft and Buckley Ward.
Mrs Lesley Flint, whose daughter was a patient in there in 1998, wrote to the paper to say conditions were bad there in Buckly then.
She said: "The smell of urine was nauseating, the toilets and shower a disgrace, I wrote and complained in detail and I am disgusted things are still just as bad in any ward in the hospital."
In 1998 Epsom Hospital was then a separate health care trust but since its amalgamation with St Helier and an attack on poor cleaning standards by a Commission on Health Improvement report hygiene is said to have been a priority and improved.
Steve Lennox, acting director of Nursing and Care Standards said he was deeply concerned about the comments and wanted to investigate them - but needed patients and visitors to let management know if they are unhappy about aspects of care.
He said: "The best way is to let staff on a ward know, but if patients
feel unable to do this they can contact our matrons or contact Patient
Advice and Liaison Service."
Copyright © 2004, Trinity Mirror Plc