LETTER OF THE WEEK: I had to break hospital car rules to help a dying friend

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I write concerning Kettering General Hospital’s recent decision to no longer allow patients to be dropped off at the hospital entrance doors.

On April 24 a very dear friend of mine, terminally ill with cancer, received a call from a doctor at Cransley Hospice to say an appointment had been made for her to have a scan at Kettering General Hospital at 11.30am that morning.

As she was too poorly to drive herself, I offered to take her.

As I hadn’t been to the hospital for a while, I wasn’t aware that it was no longer possible either to turn into the main entrance from Rothwell Road or to drop people off at the main entrance doors.

Although we left her home in Kettering in what should have been plenty of time to get to the appointment, we had to queue in a long line of traffic waiting to get into the hospital car parks.

My friend was very anxious that she would miss her appointment.

As the outcome of the scan would determine the next stages of her treatment, she decided she had no choice but to get out of my car and walk to the hospital.

Somehow she managed this although she was in a great deal of pain and it was agony for her.

When I finally got to the front of the queue, I made my way to the top car park which had a sign indicating there were spaces.

However, there were none and I spent a long time driving round as more and more cars entered looking for spaces.

Eventually in despair and concern for my friend, I stopped outside the pay kiosk and spoke to the lady behind the desk.

I explained the situation and she could see my distress.

She told me to park in a “drop off” space at the end of the car park. I am extremely grateful to that lady for allowing me to do that.

I was then able to join my friend who was in a lot of pain and discomfort following the scan.

She was very weak and it would have been impossible for her to walk back to my car which was parked at the far end of the car park.

I had to take the decision to ignore the “No Entry” sign and pick her up from the main entrance doors.

By the time I got her home she could barely breathe and needed oxygen to assist with her breathing.

Her condition worsened over the next couple of days and she passed away in Cransley Hospice on April 27.

I hope that whoever decided on a complete ban on patients being dropped off at the hospital entrance will reconsider their decision and agree that exceptions should be made in cases as serious as that of my friend.

I have raised this as a complaint with Kettering General Hospital and have just received a response saying that the matter was being investigated.

I would suggest that any others so seriously affected by this decision also should consider making a formal complaint.

Clearly these are serious deficiencies which require the hospital’s urgent attention.

While writing I would like to take the opportunity to thank the wonderful doctors and nurses at Cransley Hospice who made my friend’s final hours as pain free, peaceful and comfortable as possible.

Ann Evans