Health watchdog's concerns over 87-year-old's hospital discharge

Alex Stewart, chief executive of Healthwatch Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Alex Stewart, chief executive of Healthwatch Norfolk - Credit: Denise Bradley

A health watchdog for Norfolk says its wants reassurances from hospital bosses after an 87-year-old woman with dementia was discharged from hospital without social services and her family being informed.

Eileen Burchett, a great grandmother who is deaf, was discharged from the James Paget University Hospital on October 7 and sent to a Great Yarmouth care home in her nightie.

Neither her family nor the county council social services had been told about the move, which has angered Mrs Burchett's family. 

Eileen Burchett

Eileen Burchett was discharged in a nightie - Credit: Supplied by the family

Healthwatch Norfolk says it has concerns over the manner of her discharge and says it want reassurances that families are told if loved ones are to be moved out of wards.

Alex Stewart, chief executive of Healthwatch Norfolk, said: "We share the concerns of Norfolk County Council.

"While we appreciate hospital staff are under pressure, talking to loved ones is absolutely vital and we would want to be reassured that immediate family are being kept informed about patients being moved out of hospital care and these lines of communication always remain open."

Mrs Burchett's son Rod, discovered his mother, who lives in Burgh Castle, had been discharged after he rang the hospital on October 7 ahead of visiting her.

To make matters worse she arrived at Salisbury Residential Care Home in a nightie.

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Mr Burchett, 57, from Gorleston, said: "I just think they are trying to brush it under the mat.

"They don't have the compassion that is in their mission statement.

"I just think they are using Covid as an excuse.

"It's just appalling what they have done to my mother."

His mother had been in hospital after suffering a fall at her home.


The JPH - Credit: JPUH

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis said: "I am aware of this situation and although I do not comment on specific cases,  I would urge residents to contact me if they have any concerns regarding local NHS services, or any other matter.”

When contacted about the concerns that social services had not been involved in the discharge process, the James Paget hospital would not make a further comment.

It had said there was considerable pressure to find beds to allow seriously ill patients to be admitted.

It said discharge procedures are followed and it liaised with appropriate partner agencies, including social workers, with the best interest of the patient guiding this process.