Lister patient put in “storeroom” for three nights

A STROKE patient at Lister Hospital in Stevenage has spent three nights in what has been described as a storeroom, “due to a rise in demand” for beds.

Kate Wardle, of St Faiths Close in Hitchin, is paralysed down one side of her body following a major stroke.

The 62-year-old has been an inpatient at Lister for about three weeks and claims to have been moved “umpteen times” due to a lack of available beds on the stroke unit.

For three nights Mrs Wardle says she slept “in what can only be described as a storeroom”.

From her bed, she reeled off a list of items in her area, which included four extractor fans, three blood pressure machines, one three-metre parallel bars, four wheelchairs, a number of stools, frames and chairs, one desk, three pieces of lifting apparatus she described as “extremely bulky”, and numerous boxes with unknown contents.

“It’s the most appalling place to put a patient,” said Mrs Wardle. “I’m pretty angry and very depressed.

“I’m supposed to be recovering, and I should be getting strength from where I am, but its dire here.”

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She also said she is only having 20 minutes of physiotherapy a week, instead of the recommended 45 minutes a day.

“The nursing staff here are brilliant, but they are just so overstretched,” she explained. “My recovery is being severely handicapped.”

Hours after The Comet spoke with Mrs Wardle and contacted a Lister representative on Tuesday, Mrs Wardle was moved to a bed on the ward.

A spokesman for the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust - which runs Lister - said the area described as a “storeroom” is a rehabilitation unit which used to be a four-bed clinical bay.

“Our stroke unit is an emergency service, and due to a rise in demand we have temporarily reinstated two beds back into this clinical area,” she explained.

“Although the beds are entirely separate from the area where the equipment is kept, we are grateful to Mrs Wardle for bringing her views about the environment to our attention.”

The spokesman said curtains to screen the equipment will be put up.

“We are sorry that Mrs Wardle didn’t feel the environment was appropriate for her needs,” she added.

“Once she made her feelings known to us, we moved her to the next bed available on the ward.”

The spokesman said Mrs Wardle, who also has kidney problems, will be transferred to the specialist physiotherapy unit at the QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City as soon as she is well enough.