Relatives hit out at ‘pitiful’ Sandwell Hospital care

By Alex Ross | Sandwell | News | Published:

The family of a man who died in hospital have criticised the care he received after his health deteriorated rapidly.

Frank Hayward

Frank Hayward was admitted to Sandwell General Hospital following a fall in his bedroom.

It was later discovered that he had suffered a neck break.

Less than a month later his family received a call to go to the hospital as his condition had deteriorated dramatically. The 83-year-old died 10 minutes before the arrival of relatives, who had been held up in snow.

An inquest was opened last month into the former sheet metal worker’s death at Black Country Coroner’s Court.

It heard he suffered a bleed to the brain and that he had had contracted Norovirus while staying at the hospital.

Following concerns from the family over his care, Russell Williams, senior coroners officer, adjourned the case.

Today, relatives of Mr Hayward, who lived in Rowley Regis, said they wanted answers over his treatment.

They have submitted a formal complaint to Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, which runs the hospital.


One of the examples they give of alleged incompetence by hospital staff was a failure to provide Mr Hayward with a neck collar that fitted. They claim to have been told there was no other size, leaving the family to source its own collar.

In a join statement, they claim: “Frank’s care was pitiful from the offset with incompetent staff and lack of thorough documentation being a common theme throughout his ordeal.

“A catalyst to the nightmare that Frank endured was the inadequate care whilst in A&E.”

The family said Mr Hayward’s neck break was only discovered 10 days into his hospital stay and that this ‘delay’ impacted his mental state ‘dramatically’.


The statement continues: “The hospital was attempting to fit a collar that did not fit Frank, which exasperated his agitation – they put it on him multiple times, despite this virtually choking his small frame.

“In response, we had to source a collar ourselves.

“The hospital and staff were useless in the quest to find a collar to fit Frank, yet our family was successful in tracking one down, despite having no medical training.”

The family have also hit out at communication from the hospital, claiming documentation on Mr Hayward’s care was ‘inconsistent’ and ‘inadequate’.

They added: “We will not let these last four weeks define Frank’s life, but they are ultimately in the family’s memories and will help fuel the fire to the decency that Frank deserved.”

The inquest has been adjourned until February 14. Mr Hayward was admitted to hospital on November 12. He died on December 10.

Mr Williams, at the inquest opener, said: “The family have grave concerns about the care and treatment Mr Hayward was offered while in Sandwell Hospital.”

Elaine Newell, chief nurse at the hospital trust, said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Mr Hayward’s family.

“I am very sorry that Mr Hayward’s family are unhappy with the treatment he received whilst he was in our care.

“We have met with family members about the issues they have raised so that we can learn from their experiences and we are thoroughly investigating their concerns.”

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
Investigations Editor - @alexross_star

Investigations Editor at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.


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