Published: 00:01, 01 August 2014
A daughter recorded her mum’s desperate wails as she waited more than nine hours to be seen by a mental health worker in A&E.
Fiona Ward was admitted to Medway hospital by ambulance on Tuesday, crying hysterically and threatening suicide.
Despite her obvious mental state, the 63-year-old waited nine and a half hours to be seen by a psychiatric nurse and five hours later she was sent home.
Scroll down for video: Please note, some people may find this video upsetting
As Mrs Ward screamed, bit her wrists, slapped her face and sobbed, daughter Amey Evans recorded the terrible scene on her mobile phone.
Mrs Evans wanted to highlight the “disgusting” way her mum was treated so she took the brave decision to post the footage online.
She said: “Mum was in absolute distress. We had to be moved at one point because she was disturbing other patients.
“None of the nurses were equipped to deal with mental health patients. If there was someone who had broken their leg in that amount of pain they wouldn’t have been left like that, but because it was mental pain, it felt like we were shoved to one side.
“I was at a complete loss what to do. To see your own mother in that state and talking about ending her life, it was horrendous. I recorded the video because I wanted to show how badly she was treated. I know it’s distressing to watch but I think people need to be made aware.”
Mrs Ward has suffered from severe depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder for 10 years. In March she took an overdose. She suffers from days of hysterical crying, when she screams, and says she doesn’t want to live.
The former nurse had been suffering one of these episodes for several days when her daughter took her to see Medway’s community mental health team at Canada House in Gillingham on Tuesday morning.
The staff decided to send Mrs Ward to A&E and she was taken by ambulance at 3pm that afternoon. She was eventually assessed by a psychiatric nurse at 12.30am on Wednesday.
Staff said a bed would be found in Maidstone, Dartford or Canterbury but she would need to be seen by a member of the crisis team first. So Mrs Evans went home and waited for a call. At 5.40am an A&E nurse rang to say her mum was being discharged and sent home in a taxi.
Mrs Evans, of Berengrave Lane, Rainham, said: “I was fuming. Mum was clearly someone who isn’t safe to be on her own. After 15 hours she was back to where she began.”
The 32-year-old added: “If I’d known all they were going to do was discharge her, I would have taken her home hours before. ”
Mrs Evans was advised to remove sharp objects from her mum’s Rainham home and take away her medication. The crisis team will visit twice a day.
Mrs Evans said: “Mum has had these visits before and they do more harm than good. She ends up waiting in all day and feeling even more isolated.”
Mrs Ward, who worked as a nurse for 20 years before mental illness forced her to give up work, moved to Rainham two years ago from Bingley, Yorkshire, to be closer to her only daughter.
Mrs Evans said: “I feel at every single opportunity, the NHS has failed her miserably. One day I’m going to get a phone call to say she is dead. This can’t keep going on.”
“I feel at every single opportunity, the NHS has failed her miserably. One day I’m going to get a phone call to say she is dead. This can’t keep going on" - Amey Evans
A spokesman for Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) said: “Admission to A&E is a last resort for anyone with a mental health condition, however when the patient was assessed, it was determined that for her own safety she would be taken by ambulance to Medway Maritime Hospital at 3pm.
“She was seen at 3.15pm by hospital staff and given medication to treat symptoms at 3.40pm. The patient was continually assessed and her medication reviewed until she was able to speak with medical staff about her condition to allow medical staff, the patient and her carer, to determine the best course of action.
“Once it was determined it was safe for her to go home, she was discharged where she will continue to receive regular treatment.
“We will look into the individual circumstances of this case and discuss with the patient and her carers, the details of her treatment on this occasion and her ongoing care.”
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