Stroke patient slept on chairs pushed together in day room due to lack of beds

PUBLISHED: 14:04 01 April 2018 | UPDATED: 14:04 01 April 2018

Trudi Connaughton was left on two chairs for 8 hours at the NNUH (Image: Andrew Copleston)

Trudi Connaughton was left on two chairs for 8 hours at the NNUH (Image: Andrew Copleston)


A stroke patient was forced to leave her hospital bed overnight before being left in a day room for more than eight hours.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Photo: NNUHThe Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Photo: NNUH

Trudi Connaughton, 50, was rushed to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) last week when she suffered her second stroke in as many months.

But just after midnight on Monday, March 26, her partner of more than 20 years Andrew Copleston said she was woken up and told her bed, on Dunston Ward - an acute stroke unit - was needed for someone else.

Sales director and mother-of-two Ms Connaughton was moved to a day room, where she was forced to push together two chairs to form a make-shift bed.

Mr Copleston, a HGV driver, spoke to her around 9am. He said: “She said she’d been there since the early hours of the morning. So I flew up there and she was sitting there in the day room with all her stuff, everything, in bags. I asked what was going on and the nurse said: ‘This is what we have to do’.”

The 55-year-old said: “With this thing she needs sleep, she can be fine one minute and not the next, it’s a brain injury after all. They said they were trying to sort a bed out but she was left with two chairs and a pillow.

“Eventually I was talking to her and she said they had not done her blood pressure since 6am and they’re supposed to do that every couple of hours. This was 10 hours later and when she did do it, it was high.”

Mr Copleston said he was “at the end of [his] tether” and managed to get the email address of Mark Davies, the hospital’s chief executive.

He emailed him a complaint and in his reply the next morning, Tuesday, Mr Davies admitted the hospital was under pressure but said that did “not excuse many things” about Ms Connaughton’s treatment. He said he was aware of the situation and staff had already apologised but added: “I am very sorry.”

Mr Copleston said: “I know what stress they’re under but this is wrong. This is 2018 and this is the NHS where you’ve got a stroke patient on an acute stroke ward on two chairs instead of in a bed. It’s shocking.”

He said Ms Connaughton was extremely distressed by the situation but was now home in Northrepps recovering. He added: “She’ll get through, not in there she wouldn’t, but here she will.”

A spokesman for the hospital said: “We have been in contact with the family already and the CEO and staff concerned have apologised. Our services have been under immense pressure in the last few months because of a rise in emergency admissions and our teams have been working hard under difficult conditions.”

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