Chatteris veteran’s treatment ‘a disgrace”

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A Chatteris Naval veteran’s hospital treatment over the last month has been branded “a disgrace” .

Hinchingbrooke Hospital has come under fire from the March and District Royal Naval Association for the care given to 85-year-old George Townsend.

Mr Townsend, who served in the Royal Fleet Air Arm, was admitted on Christmas Eve but discharged later that day despite breathing problems and chest difficulties.

Within days he was re-admitted and has been admitted twice more since. He has been diagnosed with pneumonia and a collapsed lung.

Welfare officer Les Baynes said: “I think it is a disgrace. It would be bad enough for a 21-year-old, but it is even worse for an 85-year-old man.

“He said he was not going to stay in Hinchingbrooke because he couldn’t eat. He said the food was atrocious.

“He said he needed to come home to build up strength and had not had enough attention.”

Mr Baynes and his wife Jan have been helping Mr Townsend during the saga.

Mr Baynes said: “He was admitted on Christmas Eve. I don’t know why he was sent home, something about having no beds. He should have been in hospital. They sent him home with three days medication.”

On December 27, Mr and Mrs Baynes had to call out the emergency doctor after becoming concerned for Mr Townsend. He was later re-admitted to the hospital and was diagnosed with pneumonia and a collapsed lung.

He was released on New Year’s Eve and told he would be referred to Papworth Hospital as an outpatient and a care programme set up.

Mrs Baynes says the ambulance was called to Mr Townsend again on January 2 but was not admitted as the “hospital would not take him”.

On January 6, Mr Townsend was re-admitted but discharged himself on Thursday night last week.

The association has lodged a complaint.

A hospital spokesman said: “We’re sorry for any distress Mr Townsend experienced. We only discharge patients when medically fit and there are strict rules about when and how that happens.

“In this case, we haven’t received a complaint from the patient: we encourage anyone who has feedback on their care, good or bad, to contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service at the hospital, and that means we can then fully investigate any issues.”