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Retired headteacher in seven hour wait at Gorleston’s James Paget University Hospital

PUBLISHED: 17:24 24 November 2012

Barbara Tildesley who was left waiting at the James Paget University Hospital for seven hours.

Picture: James Bass

Barbara Tildesley who was left waiting at the James Paget University Hospital for seven hours. Picture: James Bass

(C) James Bass 2012

A retired Gorleston headteacher spent eight tired and hungry hours waiting to be seen at the James Paget University Hospital, with nothing but a baked potato to keep her warm.

What hope Do We Have? By Barbara Tildesley

I’ve had some funny turns which isn’t quite like me

I lost several days together, what a calamity

I was taken into hospital 3 days it seems I stayed

I never have remembered them I think my memory strayed.

Instructions from the hospital were, should this occur more

You must come straight into hospital just as you did before.

On Friday last - another turn so to the Doc’s I went

She said I must immediately to hospital be sent

But the hospital was busy and I waited there forever

No lunch – or –tea – then suddenly a baked potato – clever!

The Doctor came and he explained my turn was not the same

This one my heart was the problem, last time it was my brain.

So I must get an appointment to see the Doctor for a start

As I’d been told I needed a monitor for my heart.

I rang and rang, could not get through so went down to the surgery

“Appointment – now – no Friday weekI nearly committed perjury

They told me they were starting to computerise things more

Well I don’t have one in my home, what would I use it for?

Oh A doctor might just phone you, well he didn’t and that’s that

I don’t think I’ll reach 86, there seems fat chance of that.

But then I had a bit of luck I tried to phone once more

Got straight through to appointments, amazing – that’s for sure

When I explained the lady said “Get here for 8am

You’ll get a same day appointment, don’t know with whom or when”

So I’m putting on my overcoat, tired out – but on my way

I’ll get there by 8am for sure to be certain I’m seen today

For at my age what can I do, we’ve lived too long it seems

And to have the care we’d love to share exists only in our dreams

So I’m 85 and still alive, goodness knows how long I’ll last

Does no one care about us old dears with no future – only a past!

Former head of Bradwell’s Hillside Primary School, Barbara Tildesley, 85, was kept waiting in the waiting room at the Gorleston Hospital on November 5 after falling ill with what she thought was a repeat of the symptoms which saw her admitted previously.

Having had what she describes as “a funny turn” two weeks before, when she temporarily failed to remember a friend she has known for years, Mrs Tildesley says JPH doctors told her she should be given a bed immediately should she take another turn.

So a fortnight later she went to see her GP after falling ill while shopping, who rang the hospital and arranged for her to go in.

After four hours waiting in the JPH from 11.30am, during which time a nurse took blood from her hand, friends who had come to support her had to leave.

And the normally active and sociable Mrs Tildesley - who holds luncheons at the golf club nearby - says she was afraid to leave her seat to get something to eat in case she lost her place in the queue.

However, she was brought a baked potato by hospital staff at 6.45pm.

Mrs Tildesley, who has poor eyesight, was finally seen by a doctor at 7.30pm, who told her it was a different problem and she would need a heart monitor. To date she has not been seen about this.

Mrs Tildesley said: “A note on my report said if anything like this happened again I had to be seen immediately.

“They paid for a taxi home but at my age I don’t think it is right to have to sit on a hard chair all that time. I was absolutely exhausted when I got back home, and ill.

“They told my doctor there was a bed but when I got there there wasn’t. All those hours and I never actually got a bed.”

Mrs Tildesley, whose husband Harry died 12 years ago, was so upset that she wrote a poem to express her feelings.

In it, the mother-of-one writes “So I’m 85 and still alive, goodness knows how long I’ll last

“Does no one care about us old dears with no future - only a past.”

A spokesman for the Paget said: “That day was a very busy one in our A&E department with 217 patients attending.

“The doctors and nurses have to decide which patients need to be seen first according to their clinical needs. On this occasion, we regret that meant the patient waited seven hours, and we apologise for that.

“We are always happy to look into any concerns a patient has and ask them to contact us through our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on any issue.”

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