Man with a learning disability 'failed' by hospital
Wednesday 28 September 2011
Mencap Cymru backs report that criticises 'dire' level of care leading up to death
A man with a learning disability died in hospital in Wales, after receiving a poor package of care, according to a report published by the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales today (Wednesday 28 September).
Paul Ridd from Baglan was 53 when he died from respiratory failure at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, in January 2009. Paul’s brother and sister (pictured, with Paul) were devastated by the infrequency and standard of care Paul received and were convinced that he hadn’t been given the chance he deserved. They complained to Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board before taking their case to the Ombudsman.
Paul had been taken to hospital three weeks earlier with abdominal pains, and received an operation on part of his bowel. During his time in the intensive treatment unit, he developed pneumonia. After a short period in the high dependency unit, however, he was moved to a general medical ward, where his condition deteriorated dramatically.
The Ombudsman’s report concludes that 'the NHS failed him' and it was worrying that 'the dire level of nursing care to which Paul was subjected to on the ward could happen in the 21st century'. It also says that Paul’s chances of survival could have been improved had more attention been given to his learning disability.
Wayne Crocker, Mencap Cymru’s director said: "We welcome the Ombudsman’s findings, and hope they will go some way to help the family to come to terms with their loss.
“It’s a disgrace that someone can go into a hospital and see their chances of survival reduced because they have a learning disability. Whether it’s intentional or not, failing to meet their specific needs counts as institutional discrimination and this tragedy should act as a wake-up call for all health-providers in Wales.
“This is yet another example of a failure by health professionals to provide the proper level of care for patients with a learning disability, since Mencap published its 'Death by indifference' report in 2007."
Mencap Cymru is calling for the Welsh government to put measures in place to monitor the numbers of secondary healthcare staff receiving learning disability awareness training. It also wants hospitals to make better use of learning disability liaison nurses and healthcare staff to consult with families and carers of people with a learning disability when they are in hospital.
Find out more about Mencap’s ‘Death by indifference’ campaign