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Meeting with Anna Dugdale at NNUH, 7th July 2014

Nic Hart

It had been a long wait, but at last Miranda and I were at the Norwich and Norfolk Hospital to meet with Anna and Paul Robinson. 

The aim of our meeting was to see Dr. Paul Robinson (head of MARSIPAN) to try and ensure that his inquiry into Averil's care would look carefully at the failings of the hospital and the care that Averil received. 

We hope(d)  that his report and recomendations when implemented by the NNUH will help Anorexic patients brought to the hospital for emergency treatment n the future.

Comment: For more information on MARSIPAN see Downloads.

There had been many failings at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital hospital; They failed to protect Averil from a bad fall and head injury after leaving her to wander around the ward (completely against MARSIPAN guidelines), they had expected Averil to feed herself from the trolly and essentially  this lack of experience and their incorrect treatment of Anorexia was instrumental in her rapid decline. As a result she was later transferred to Addenbrookes hospital in order to try and save her life.

In the event the meeting was very mixed.

Anna Dougdale seemed to be behind a proper inquiry and implementation of the recommendations, however, her office had not even given Paul Robinson a copy of our Official Complaint (see the downloads section for a copy) and all Paul had in the way of background information from us was a file of notes that I had sent the SI inquiry more than a year ago.

One can't help but wonder why an expert would be asked to come from London for a two day inquiry without having all the information for prior consideration ?

We discussed the Hospital's lack of appropriate care and hope that this will be a focus for the next two days inquiry. 

We also discussed the difficult issue of parental access in an acute ward where one's child is dangerously ill. I was made to wait for hours before seeing Averil and the hospital suggested that this was until they had Averil's permission. However …. when mental capacity is poor for a young person who has been unconscious, this is a terrifying and terrible situation for the parent and young person. It seems as if bureaucracy got in the way of common sense on that fateful Friday and that access was finally given only once I had broken down.

We still have serious concerns that the NNUH have been poor in communicating with us and that they may water down the recommendations of the report, but we hope that the outcome will be:

  • Highlighting the failings of Averil's care.
  • Implementing change and improved care at the NNUH and other hospitals.
  • Communicating the report and changes to other Acute and A&E units.
  • A public apology to Averil, her family and friends.
  • Creating a model of how to deal with complaints in a non confrontational way that has the patient and relatives at the very centre.