NIGHTMARE WITH DISTRICT NURSES
Lack of treatment is ‘life threatening’ Gran’s trouble with irregular visits:
A GRANDMOTHER who relies on district nursing care three times a week claims she has to “beg and plead” to get the treatment she needs.
Joan Meek needs regular enemas and irrigation procedures after an operation in the 1980s left her with a damaged bladder and bowel.
But the 74-year-old claims getting nurses to come out to her is a “nightmare”, despite the procedures being prescribed by her consultant at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, Bodelwyddan.
Mrs Meek, from Llanrug, near Caernarfon, says the “irregular care” she receives is causing her stress.
“When I was 28 I had a hysterectomy that damaged the nervous system to my bladder and bowel,” she said.
“They tried to correct it with three further surgeries until I was eventually sent to a private hospital in Manchester.
“I was there for a month and had lots of tests and they told me I was damaged for life and that I wouldn’t see 40.”
But when Mrs Meek reached her 40th birthday, she underwent pioneering surgery at Glan Clwyd by consultant Christine Evans. “I’m still here because of her, she saved my life,” she said.
“If I don’t have my regular treatment it can be life-threatening and I end up back in hospital.
“I’ve been in intensive care before now with septicaemia and was in hospital for six months. I’ve also had two strokes due to stress.
“I’ve had nurses for over 30 years but since being prescribed irrigation that requires two nurses, it’s been a battle getting them to come out.
“At first, six nurses were trained to be able to do the treatment, but once the nurse who trained them left I’ve struggled to get them out to me because certain nurses refuse, saying it’s too dangerous.”
Mrs Meek has lodged a formal complaint with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and attended a meeting last week about her concerns.
But she said later that night, the nurses due to come to her didn’t turn up and she had to call the outof-hours service.
Mrs Meek added: “It’s not easy living with this. I’m severely disabled but I don’t want to give up, I want to be here for my family.
“My consultant has written letters saying I’ve got to have both treatments as and when necessary.
“I feel so degraded having to beg and plead for the treatment I rely on for my survival. It’s really breaking my heart constantly ringing up and getting no answer.
“This is something that’s prolonging my life. No one expected me to live this long, I’m surprised I’m still here myself. I’ve been made to feel like a burden.”
Gill Harris, executive director of nursing and midwifery at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “While we cannot comment on individual cases in any detail, we do take all concerns seriously and work closely with patients who require ongoing long-term care to ensure that any concerns they have are properly investigated and acted upon, where necessary.”
● Joan Meek, 74, was told she wouldn’t live beyond 40. ‘I’m made to feel like a burden,’ she said