Family fury as vulnerable gran ‘left in waiting room with Covid-19 patients for 3 hours’

Michelle Thorley (L) and her mum Christine Guttridge

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The family of a vulnerable gran are furious after claiming she was left in a waiting room with coronavirus-positive patients for three hours.

Christine Guttridge has been shielding for eight months to avoid being exposed to the disease but her loved ones say that's exactly what happened when she attended the Royal Stoke University Hospital for a routine procedure.

The 75-year-old had no symptoms for the illness except breathlessness but her family say as she suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart problems that was not unusual.

Daughter Michelle Thorley claims her mum was left in the hospital waiting room for hours, Stoke on Trent Live reports, and ended up taking her home before treatment because the elderly woman was so distressed.

Michelle, 53 said: “My mum, who is clinically highly vulnerable, was left in a room with five Covid patients. Nothing was done with her. She had a mask but because she has severe COPD she had to keep pulling it down to get her breath.

“In the end, she was getting really frightened. She got a nurse to ring me to pick her up. They then sat her by the doors in the cold for 25 minutes until I got there. She was so cold she was shaking.”

Michelle has complained to the hospital after her mum was 'put at risk'

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“Mum has been fantastic. She has stayed at home, which she hates because she likes to get out and about.

"She has done everything the correct way to avoid being in any contact with people with Covid, then this happens.

“I’m furious she was put in that part of the hospital. I know the hospital says any symptoms and people must go there, but we know what’s causing her breathlessness isn’t Covid and it seems so wrong she was put in a high-risk environment.

“I know the NHS is on its knees and doing its best. I feel putting the catheter in was a very basic procedure that could have been done at home and didn’t need to waste all this NHS time.

“We are just hoping that she hasn’t picked anything up.”

Royal Stoke University Hospital, where staff are investigating

Michelle had called 111 on November 12 as Christine was getting breathless and an ambulance crew attended.

“My mum was anxious about going to hospital and wanted to stay at home," she said.

“The next day we rang the GP, as we had been advised, and they said mum needed to have a catheter fitted.

"They said they would send a district nurse around, but an hour later they rang to say mum would have to go to the hospital.

“They arranged for an ambulance to come and get mum. We explained that all she needed doing was a catheter fitting.”

University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM)  is investigating after the family complained.

A UHNM spokesman said: “Patient safety is our top priority and we apologise if Mrs Guttridge’s care was not to the standard that she expected. PALS has received Mrs Guttridge’s complaint and an investigation is underway.”

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