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Frail OAPs stranded for a week

PUBLISHED: 17:37 25 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:06 11 August 2010

THE FAMILY of an 82-year-old woman have slammed her care home after claiming the patients emergency call buttons had been out of action for more than a week. Without the buttons vulnerable residents of Grays Court, in John Parker Close, Dagenham have no

THE FAMILY of an 82-year-old woman have slammed her care home after claiming the patients' emergency call buttons had been out of action for more than a week.

Without the buttons vulnerable residents of Grays Court, in John Parker Close, Dagenham have no way of contacting staff when in need.

Despite the family making a number of complaints to the home, it was only when MP Jon Cruddas got involved that the system was fixed.

Elizabeth Cushen, whose mother Ellen Murray is staying at the home after suffering a fall last month, became aware of the problem when she tried to press the button herself on March 7.

Staff at Grays Court, an NHS run intermediate care service for the elderly, apparently admitted the whole system was down. According to Mrs Cushen, one nurse claimed it hadn't been working for at least a week.

Mrs Cushen, who lives in Billericay, said: "I spoke to a senior member of staff about it, as I was obviously very concerned, and he said "What do you want me to do about it?"

"No-one seemed to know when the buttons would be fixed and there didn't appear to be any back-up system.

"I later heard that patients were given whistles and bells, but as far as I know my mum was never provided with any.

"My mother has fallen over quite a few times recently, so it is essential that she has a way of calling staff when she needs help, especially as she is in a room by herself."

Having no idea when the buttons would be fixed, Mrs Murray's daughter-in-law, Sally Nutley, from Hornchurch, decided to call MP Jon Cruddas.

Mr Cruddas stepped in and the system was up and running in a couple of days.

Mrs Nutley said: "I'm sure we would have waited a lot longer for the problem to be sorted if it hadn't been for Jon Cruddas. He was marvellous., but we shouldn't have had to call him for something to be done."

Jon Cruddas, told the POST: "As soon as we heard there was a problem we got on to it. I am very pleased to hear the system is working."

A NHS Barking and Dagenham spokeswoman said: "There have been some intermittent (but short-lived) problems with the call system in some rooms at Grays Court and we have been working with the provider of the system over the past few months to try to resolve these.

"Following the failure of the system over the weekend of March 7-8, the engineer came out to Grays Court on March 9 and was able to reboot the system and get it working again."

The spokeswoman said staff have whistles and bells to give the patients should the system break down again.

She added: "We would like to stress that we consider patient safety of paramount importance and strive to ensure that patient care is of the highest standard.


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