Wednesday, 04 August 2021

New Townlands turned me away

AN elderly man who suffered an allergic reaction to an insect bite was turned away from

AN elderly man who suffered an allergic reaction to an insect bite was turned away from the new Townlands Hospital in Henley.

Colin Saggers, 72, ended up spending three days at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading after staff at Henley’s new £10million facility told him to see his GP instead.

Mr Saggers, who paid about £50 in taxi fares to and from Reading, says the experience was “stressful” and he was disappointed he couldn’t be treated in his home town.

He was in the kitchen of his home in Watermans Road on May 5 when he was bitten on the right hand. When he woke up the next morning his hand and arm had ballooned.

He went to the hospital in York Road at 9am but a receptionist said he should go to the nearby Bell Surgery, where he is a patient. He was eventually seen by a doctor at 4.10pm and referred to the Royal Berks.

Mr Saggers said: “The bite was quite painful. It was stinging and aching and my hand and arm were swollen and I couldn’t move my fingers.

“It wasn’t too bad on the Thursday night but by the Friday morning I ached in my leg and side. There was a horrible pain everywhere.

“A friend and his mum went with me to hospital. We had to get a taxi at 5 o’clock in the evening at £25 each way. I was there for four hours before they admitted me.”

At the hospital, he was given an antibiotic injection which he says made him feel unwell. He was switched to a course of tablets but had to stay in hospital over the weekend.

Mr Saggers said: “I didn’t really like being in hospital and I got quite distressed. The doctor originally said I could leave on Sunday morning but I wasn’t well enough. I discharged myself on the Monday morning.”

He said he couldn’t understand why he wasn’t able to be seen at the minor injuries unit at Townlands, which could have avoided the need for a hospital stay.

Mr Saggers said: “It was a stressful experience. I wish I could have been treated at Townlands and you would have thought they could do that at a big new hospital.”

Friend Martin Eggleton, of Gainsborough Crescent, said Mr Saggers had been in tears to him on the phone.

He said: “It was hard for him at the Royal Berks because they were bombarding him with information and it was difficult to understand.

“Perhaps if he could have had some treatment in Henley his stay in hospital could have been avoided. Even if he had basic first aid treatment it would have helped and not required him to be in hospital for three days.

“Perhaps the health chiefs could advise people what they should do if they require medical treatment.”

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust said it was unable to comment on individual cases.

A spokesman said: “We very sorry to hear about this gentleman’s experience and we hope he makes a full recovery.”

The new hospital opened in March and has facilities including outpatients, radiology and minor injuries.

A rapid access care unit with services including antibiotic treatment and transfusions is also due to open at the hospital later this year.

The unit replaces the 18 beds at the old hospital, together with eight beds provided at the neighbouring Orders of St John care home and six more on demand.

The hospital is expected to be officially opened in early October.

• The first public meeting of the Townlands Stakeholders Reference Group will be held on Tuesday, July 19 at a venue to be chosen. Until now the group has met in private, sparking accusations by campaigners that health chiefs were being secretive.

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