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War hero slams Winchester hospital over wife's hospital care
5:06pm Thursday 8th August 2013 in Winchester
A WAR hero has slammed the Royal Hampshire County Hospital over the treatment of his dementia-suffering wife.
Leonard Sweetman, 93, said he was unhappy with the hospital’s care for Rose, and said staff wanted to transfer her to a care home against his will.
Mrs Sweetman, 88, has been in and out of hospital since October 2012 after suffering falls due to balance problems, and is currently on Clifton Ward.
Mr Sweetman, of Wrights Close, South Wonston, said: “She is blind in one eye and cannot see well out of the other and yet she was discharged once at 11.30pm with no money in her pocket, when I was under the impression she was being kept in.
“They’ve lost her coat and keys, they lost her dentures. One time they sent her home more or less stripped to the waist in a taxi.”
Mr Sweetman said he was told it would cost around £1,000 per month for a private care home.
He said: “I get £120 pension per week and after council tax and bills it doesn’t leave much.”
Mr Sweetman, who served in the Royal Artillery in Burma during World War Two, has sight and hearing problems and has an agreement that staff won’t discuss his wife’s treatment with him unless his daughter Anita Welsh, who lives in Canada, or his Royal British Legion advocate, Derek Green, is present.
But he claimed staff tried to get him to agree to more assessments of his wife last Friday.
Mr Green, chairman of the Winchester RBL, was appointed advocate in October 2012 and said he was disappointed with the couple’s treatment.
He said: “The legion cannot do an awful lot more but I made a promise to Leonard that I will not give this up. I can’t see someone of his age go through this on his own. It’s not fair.
“The system is letting him down. These guys pay tax and national insurance all their lives and what are they getting back? Nothing.”
Mr Sweetman has also approached Winchester MP Steve Brine to look into the case.
Mr Brine said: “This has dragged on for far too long and the stress this has caused the family is totally unfair.
“I remain in robust dialogue with the (hospital) trust to see if we can help because ultimately, in this case, the system is not working.”
The trust said it does not comment on individual cases, but Dr Andrew Bishop, trust chief medical officer, said: “We try to work with families and our partners in social and community services to find the best solution for patients who are frail and elderly when they are fit for discharge from hospital.”
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