A RETIRED head teacher with a serious condition was moved away from a ward at Crosshouse Hospital after he and his wife felt he was not being looked after appropriately, health chiefs have revealed.

A report on the experience of a stroke patient who was moved from Crosshouse to the Biggart Hospital in Prestwick says that the patient’s wife had to make repeated requests to staff for him not to be cared for in a particular Crosshouse ward.

And the report says that health staff have now admitted there was “room for improvement” at the ward in question.

The report, submitted to a meeting of NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s board this week, details the experiences of the patient, Mr Gebbie, and his wife.

Mr Gebbie’s first name is not revealed in the report, which does not say when the episode happened.

The report, by Laura Harvey, NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s quality improvement lead for patient experience, states: “Mr Gebbie was a fit and healthy gentleman until his stroke.

"He is a retired head teacher, working until he was 70 years old then relocating from England to Scotland.

"Just two days prior to his stroke, Mr Gebbie was at home undertaking all his normal daily activities, which included overseeing personal finances, and driving himself and his wife regularly around the UK on holiday.

“Mr Gebbie was initially admitted to the acute stroke unit (ASU) situated in ward 3E, University Hospital Crosshouse (UHC) and once well enough, was transferred to ward 5D (care of the elderly) at UHC, until a rehabilitation bed became available within the Biggart Hospital.”

The report says that while the initial level of care given to Mr Gebbie at the ASU was positive – with Mrs Gebbie describing the attention of staff as “absolutely fantastic” – this changed on his transfer to ward 5D.

Ms Harvey’s report continues: “Mr and Mrs Gebbie felt that Mr Gebbie had been transferred to this ward due to his age (78) and not his medical requirements and they felt that this was not the appropriate ward setting to continue Mr Gebbie’s care.

“Following repeated requests from Mrs Gebbie, Mr Gebbie was transferred back to Ward 3E until a rehabilitation bed was available within Biggart Hospital.

“The difference in care provision between both wards caused them to feel that the culture within ward 5D was less person centred and compassionate and a number of issues led them to feel that for whatever reason, the staff seemed less empathetic to Mr Gebbie and his needs.”

The report says that hospital staff at Crosshouse acknowledge there was a need to better explain the transition “when a patient steps down from an area providing a higher level of care”.

Ms Harvey adds: “In the examples given by Mrs Gebbie, communication around visiting may have been better understood if the differences in wards, and approach to visiting, had been fully explained to visitors.

“Staff in both areas found listening to the story a great learning opportunity and in Ward 5D particularly, staff were able to reflect on the impact of a rushed conversation or failure to put the patient first.”

The report says a new patient survey has been developed to capture regular patient feedback, and adds that “both the quality improvement team and patient experience team is working with the senior charge nurse and her team to improve communication”.  

A ward volunteer has been introduced, who can support the ward and liaise between patients and the ward staff.