The Welsh Labour MP Ann Clwyd
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MP Ann Clwyd: My husband died like a battery hen

The chief nursing officer for England is calling for far greater emphasis on compassionate care in her profession, in response to concerns about abuse and neglect at some hospitals.

Welsh Labour MP Ann Clwyd's husband died in October from hospital-acquired pneumonia, which she believes was caused by the poor standard of care he received from nurses at University Hospital Wales.

Ms Clwyd told The World At One presenter Martha Kearney, "he was extremely cold... he was very distressed, totally aware of the situation although unable to speak because of his oxygen mask... a few hour later, he died."

"My husband died like a battery hen... he was six foot two, he was cramped and squashed up against the iron bars of the [hospital] bed," she added.

University Hospital provided this statement from executive nurse director, Ruth Walker: "We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Ms Clwyd on the loss of her husband. We recognise how distressing it is when family members have cause to raise significant concerns about the quality of care their loved one received, whilst also coping with bereavement. We take such matters extremely seriously.

"We acknowledge the seriousness of the concerns raised by Ms Clwyd and we would welcome the opportunity to meet with her as soon as possible to discuss them in detail, so that a full and formal investigation into the particular circumstances of this case can begin.

"We are aware that Ms Clwyd has had discussions with one of our respiratory consultants to discuss elements of the care of her late husband and we look forward to having the opportunity to discuss the full circumstances surrounding his care.

"As a health board, we recognise that we don't get things right all of the time, but we are always saddened to hear of examples of poor standards of care, which cause so much distress to patients and their relatives.

"We will not tolerate poor care, which is why it is so important that each incident is fully investigated, so that we can drive up standards and provide patients and their families with the quality of care they need and deserve."

  • 04 Dec 2012
  • From the section Health