A dying gran was rushed to hospital but was forced to spend the night in a cramped windowless “cupboard” when no beds were available.
Retired nurse Paulette Robinson, 68, who has terminal end stage emphysema, was admitted to the medical assessment unit on Sunday (15/1).
But when she arrived at the Royal Derby Hospital she was told there was a shortage of beds so was moved to a windowless room which she dubbed “a cupboard.”
Shocking pictures show Paulette’s bed squeezed next to boxes piled high with medical supplies, oxygen tanks alongside old chairs and tables.
Paulette also revealed how she was forced to telephone the hospital from her bed using her mobile when the call button didn’t work.
Paulette, who has been admitted to the hospital seven times in the last seven months, stayed overnight in the tiny room.
After posting a series of shocking pictures of her “cupboard” on Facebook, she was moved onto a ward at 5pm on Monday (16/1) – 14 hours after she was admitted.
Hospital bosses said patient numbers were so high staff were forced to move patients into “treatment rooms” as a last resort.
Officials also admitted that non-emergency operations are being cancelled as the hospital tries to cope with up to 100 admissions a day.
In a series of frustrated Facebook posts, Paulette showed the tiny room complete with numerous containers filled with medical supplies and a ‘daily discharge planning’ wall chart.
Divorced Paulette, who has one grown-up daughter and one grandson, also condemned the hospital’s food portions, claiming “rationing” was in place
On Tuesday (16/1) Paulette posted a picture of a desk and two plastic chairs which had been shoved against the wall along with two oxygen tanks.
She wrote: “View to the left in my cupboard. Apparently we are on black alert where all spare space is used…thank God they didn’t settle me in the lift.”
In another post, Paulette took a picture of medical supplies stacked precariously in boxes from floor to ceiling.
“This is where my bed has been put at the Royal Derby Hospital – in a cupboard!!!
“I started as a cadet nurse in 1965 and frankly we can definitely do better than floors and cupboards for sick people!!!
“Such a situation for a 68 year old with terminal emphysema and heart failure is bloody unacceptable!!!! I can only assume you are an admin person because nurses also find this completely wrong!!!”
In a later post, she added: “Rationing has already started at the RDH!
“Had soup and yoghurt for my evening meal – and only one spoon!
“Also the slice of bread I ordered wasn’t forthcoming…. one of the nursing staff fielded two slices of dry bread and a plastic teaspoon for me and when I mentioned it to the ‘host’ he said he was handing out meals to 24 patients and couldn’t be expected to remember everything!
“The fact it is written down on an individual sheet of paper appears to have passed him by!
“So 1 spoon for two types of food and no bread even though ordered…..Jeremy Hunt strikes again!!!!!”
Paulette, who lives in Bankwood Care Home in Duffield, Derby, was moved out of the room into a larger treatment bay after the Facebook updates.
In another post, Paulette explained how an assistant matron, the Head of Nursing and the Head of Communications had paid her a visit following her posts.
She was also seen by the Head of Nursing and the hospital’s Chief Executive Gavin Boyle on Tuesday (18/1), in a bid to amend the problems.
Paulette also posted: “Good morning from the third world hospital known as the Royal Derby.
“I’m not in the cupboard but it has another occupant now! Have RDH declared a problem?
“Don’t look like it so we know now the management feel not losing face is more important than patient safety!!
“Treatment rooms and day rooms being used to accommodate patients….where next? Lifts and corridors?”
Speaking today (Fri), her disgusted daughter Lisa Wright, 49, a management accountant from Littleover, Derby, said: “My mum is very poorly. She knows she is coming to the end of her life.
“She is really struggling. She has end stage emphysema and struggles to breathe.
“Her treatment has been absolutely appalling.
“One lady was left sobbing on her bed pan for 20 minutes after no one would come to help.
“Mum has even had to call the ward from her own mobile because they don’t answer the call bells.
“On that occasion, they didn’t even answer the phone and I had to call them myself at 11.30pm.
“If it isn’t a problem with her drugs being sent from the pharmacist, it’s the fact that she’s given antibiotics through an IV at 2.30am which isn’t going to help her. There’s just no logic.
“My mum has worked on-and-off as a nurse since 1965 so we are a nursing family.
“She has given a lot of her time to the NHS and has worked all her life.
“When we arrived at the medical assessment unit on Sunday, it was absolutely chaotic.
“I find it disgraceful that they can just shove her in a cupboard despite the fact that she is now receiving end-of-life care.
“There were no windows, there wasn’t a lamp when she arrived and the lighting wouldn’t work.
“You would have thought she would have been treated with a bite of care and respect, but her dignity has been completely shattered.
“Whatever happened to patient care over protocol? It’s not acceptable.”
Hospital director of nursing Cathy Winfield said a Full Capacity Plan which includes putting patients in “treatment rooms” was a last resort.
She said: “This is a very well-thought out plan – we will bring in extra doctors and nurses and try to see patients more quickly.”
Ms Winfield said the hospital has 12 rooms specially designed to accommodate patients when the hospital reaches critical capacity.
She said: “The last stage in our plan is a number of treatment rooms which have been assessed as being appropriate to be used overnight or during the day.
“They don’t have an en-suite so they must be able to walk, so they cannot be confused patients for example.
“It’s not a room I would use every day because it doesn’t have windows or a toilet but they are fully equipped to provide safe care.
“I spoke to two gentlemen who were very happy to stay in these rooms and they said they would stay out of choice.”