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‘Sort your s*** out’: Wife of a terminally ill cancer patient pens a heartbreaking letter

The wife of a terminally ill cancer patient has written a heartbreaking open letter to Jeremy Hunt after her husband waited 16 hours for a hospital bed.

In a scathing attack on the Health and Social Care Secretary, Becky Wilkinson urged him to ‘sort his s*** out’ as experts warn the NHS is battling an ‘eternal winter’.

Mrs Wilkinson begged medics to help her husband, Steve, who went an entire day without eating because food and even drink were making him sick. 

She revealed how they ‘sat and watched minor injury after minor injury come in, get assessed, treated and move on or out’ at the Royal Stoke Hospital.

But no-one came to Mr Wilkinson’s side because ‘they simply couldn’t’, she explained in a firm Facebook post about the over-stretched NHS, directed at Mr Hunt.

‘If I treated my dog the way my husband has been treated I would be banned from looking after animals for life,’ she wrote. 

‘Jeremy Hunt, sort your s*** out (sorry Mum). Let those doctors and nurses who so desperately want to help and care do their jobs.’ 

Becky Wilkinson revealed how she cried and begged for medics to help her husband, Steve, who was waiting in A&E at the Royal Stoke Hospital (pictured in the hospital’s A&E unit as they waited 16 hours for Mr Wilkinson to be given a bed)

She added: ‘Smiles go a long way, but without a well-resourced hospital with open beds and enough staff it doesn’t do enough to ease the suffering of those fighting for the life they have left.’  

Her post comes after Mr Hunt appealed to Tory MPs two weeks ago for their help in solving funding problems in the NHS.

He warned after the ‘most challenging’ winter for many years there is ‘no doubt’ about the pressures the service is under.

Concerns have repeatedly been raised in the past few weeks, as hospitals normally quieten down in the spring, allowing staff to ‘catch up’.

But unprecedented pressure, which saw March as the busiest month in A&E ever recorded, has caused many hospitals to cancel routine operations to free up beds. 

Frontline doctors, nurses and paramedics have begged for extra funding to help the continuing crisis – and to prevent another next winter. 

Mrs Wilkinson's post comes after Mr Hunt appealed to Tory MPs two weeks ago for their help in solving funding problems in the NHS

Mrs Wilkinson’s post comes after Mr Hunt appealed to Tory MPs two weeks ago for their help in solving funding problems in the NHS

JUST HOW STRETCHED IS THE NHS?

Waiting times at over-stretched A&E units are at their worst level since records began, official figures revealed last week.

Experts said the NHS was in the grip of an ‘eternal winter’ and many hospitals are still struggling to cope with the unprecedented pressure. 

Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt was forced to admit it was the ‘worst winter ever’ amid a severe outbreak of flu and cold weather.

Chiefs cancelled thousands of operations in a controversial move to ease pressure. And experts have suggested this may be the only option to stop a crisis next year. 

The latest monthly data from NHS England also shows that waiting times for routine operations, such as knee and hip replacements, are at their highest since 2004.  

And violent assaults on staff have risen by 10 per cent in a year – partly driven by frustration with waiting times. 

And in March, Theresa May announced a long-term financial plan to stop the NHS being hit by funding crises would be put in place this year.  

The Prime Minister admitted the over-stretched health service ‘can’t afford to wait’ until the planned review of public spending in 2019. 

Mr Wilkinson, who received his terminal diagnosis in February, complained of pain for a few days after chemotherapy and saw his Macmillan nurse.

They told him he had ascites, an abnormal build-up of fluid in the abdominal cavity usually caused by cirrhosis of the liver – which can lead to cancer.

However, Macmillan Cancer Support writes on its website that several other forms of cancer, including lung, colon and pancreas, can also cause ascites.

The nurse told him ‘not to worry’ as it would only take a few hours for him to get the treatment. He hadn’t eaten since 6pm the night before.

At 9am, the nurse rang ahead to the Royal Stoke Hospital. She was told there were no spare beds, but there would be by noon.

It wasn’t until 2pm that Mr Wilkinson, who has a seven-year-old son with his wife, was given a call from consultants at the hospital. 

Mr Wilkinson, who received his terminal diagnosis in February, complained of pain for a few days after chemotherapy and saw his Macmillan nurse, according to his wife's Facebook post

Mr Wilkinson, who received his terminal diagnosis in February, complained of pain for a few days after chemotherapy and saw his Macmillan nurse, according to his wife’s Facebook post

In her Facebook post, which has attracted hundreds of 'likes' and comments, Mrs Wilkinson wrote: 'Today has quite possibly been one of the worst days of my life'. It was dated April 24

In her Facebook post, which has attracted hundreds of ‘likes’ and comments, Mrs Wilkinson wrote: ‘Today has quite possibly been one of the worst days of my life’. It was dated April 24

Liz Rix, chief nurse at the Royal Stoke Hospital (pictured), ran by the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, said the trust has since apologised to Mr Wilkinson and his family

Liz Rix, chief nurse at the Royal Stoke Hospital (pictured), ran by the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, said the trust has since apologised to Mr Wilkinson and his family

MR WILKINSON’S TIMELINE 

At 9am, the nurse rang ahead to the Royal Stoke Hospital. She was told there were no spare beds, but there would be by noon.

It wasn’t until 2pm that Mr Wilkinson, who has a seven-year-old son with his wife, was given a call from consultants at the hospital. 

However, they asked him to go to A&E because there were still no empty beds. They said one would become free by the time he got there.

Mr Wilkinson arrived at the unit, ran by University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, shortly after 3pm. He wasn’t assessed until 4.30pm.

Medics reportedly told him ‘there are very few senior doctors’ available to help him – despite him being listed as a priority. 

Nearly five hours later at 9.30pm, Mrs Wilkinson revealed her husband saw a ‘lovely doctor’, who apologised for his agonising wait.

But they admitted they were unable to do anything for him, other than manage his pain until a bed in the hospital became free.

It wasn’t until 1am – 16 hours after the initial phone call – that Mr Wilkinson was finally given a bed.  

However, they asked him to go to A&E because there were still no empty beds. They said one would become free by the time he got there.

Mr Wilkinson arrived at the unit, ran by University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, shortly after 3pm. He wasn’t assessed until 4.30pm.

Medics reportedly told him ‘there are very few senior doctors’ available to help him – despite him being listed as a priority. 

Nearly five hours later, Mrs Wilkinson revealed her husband saw a ‘lovely doctor’, who apologised for his agonising wait.

But they admitted they were unable to do anything for him, other than manage his pain until a bed in the hospital became free.

It wasn’t until 1am – 16 hours after the initial phone call – that Mr Wilkinson was finally given a bed.  

In her Facebook post, which has attracted hundreds of ‘likes’ and comments, Mrs Wilkinson wrote: ‘Today has quite possibly been one of the worst days of my life.’

The only day that was worse, she said, was February 22, when an apologetic doctor revealed her husband had terminal cancer.

‘Until today, we have spoken highly of treatment we’ve had from community nurses, GP and Macmillan – they’ve all been great,’ Mrs Wilkinson said.

'If I treated my dog the way my husband has been treated I would be banned from looking after animals for life,' she wrote (pictured together with their seven-year-old son before Mr Wilkinson's hospital wait)

‘If I treated my dog the way my husband has been treated I would be banned from looking after animals for life,’ she wrote (pictured together with their seven-year-old son before Mr Wilkinson’s hospital wait)

Mrs Wilkinson revealed they 'sat and watched minor injury after minor injury come in, get assessed, treated and move on or out' (pictured together before Mr Wilkinson's hospital wait)

Mrs Wilkinson revealed they ‘sat and watched minor injury after minor injury come in, get assessed, treated and move on or out’ (pictured together before Mr Wilkinson’s hospital wait)

A&E CONSULTANT APOLOGISES FOR ‘THIRD WORLD’ CONDITIONS

Dr Richard Fawcett works at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust

Dr Richard Fawcett works at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust

A consultant at one of the country’s largest A&E units has apologised for the ‘third world conditions’ endured at his hospital this weekend.

Dr Richard Fawcett, who works at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, revealed that the department had run out of corridors to house patients.

His heartfelt tweet, which made national headlines on Saturday, described the true situation that faced many A&E units across the country.

He said County Hospital in Stafford couldn’t hold any more ambulances and they were stacked up outside the other trust-run A&E at Royal Stoke University Hospital.

Dr Fawcett has now blamed the crisis, which saw some patients have to wait 12 hours to see a doctor, on overcrowding.

Dr Fawcett tweeted: ‘As an A&E consultant, I personally apologise to the people of stoke for the 3rd world conditions of the dept due to overcrowding [sic]’

Strangers responded to his tweet, posted this morning, in admiration for his honesty and refused to blame him for the situation at the hospital in Staffordshire.

Dr Richard Fawcett, who works at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, apologised for the third world conditions at this A&E department

Dr Richard Fawcett, who works at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, apologised for the third world conditions at this A&E department

Dr Fawcett revealed County Hospital in Stafford is having to turn away A&E patients because even the corridors are too full

Dr Fawcett revealed County Hospital in Stafford is having to turn away A&E patients because even the corridors are too full

‘I don’t know what we would have done without them. The acute hospital, I’m afraid, has not been so.

‘The people who work in Royal Stoke have been amazing, and I have felt their pain as they have looked at us and looked away as they don’t have the resources to do their job.’

In the heartbreaking post, dated April 24, Mrs Wilkinson continued: ‘Today, that has been magnified beyond belief.

‘We sat for hours, to the point I ended up crying and begging them to help my husband – no-one came. Not because they didn’t want to but because they simply couldn’t.’ 

She also told the over-stretched hospital it could keep the pillow she took with her to give her husband something soft to rest on.  

Liz Rix, chief nurse for the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, said it has since apologised to Mr Wilkinson and his family.

She said: ‘Clinicians have been in regular contact with Mr Wilkinson and his family and we were able to offer him a bed for his treatment last week.

‘Mr Wilkinson declined this for personal reasons and our clinical teams fully understand patients need to prioritise spending time with their family during these very difficult times.

‘Our services can become extremely busy and in some instances patients will then have to wait in A&E when they return for another bed to become available.

‘We know A&E is not the best environment for cancer patients and we met with and apologised to Mr Wilkinson and his family for having to be cared for in this environment.’

MRS WILKINSON’S LETTER IN FULL 

An open letter to Jeremy Hunt

This is a photo of me and my husband at Royal Stoke today

Today has quite possibly been one of the worst days of my life, second only, probably, to the 22nd February 2018 where we sat in front of a consultant at Stafford hospital (an appointment we got after considerable chasing) who said he was very sorry, it was not diabetes that was making Steve ill it was advanced terminal cancer.

Until today we have spoken highly of the treatment we’ve had from community nurses, GP and Macmillan – they’ve all been great. I don’t know what we would have done without them, the acute hospital I’m afraid, has not being so. The people who work in Royal Stoke have been amazing, and I have felt their pain as they have looked at us and looked away as they don’t have the resources to do their job – today that has been magnified beyond belief.

Following a few days of discomfort after day 8 of chemo the dr and Macmillan nurse said Steve had ascites and needed draining – not to worry it takes a few hours and will relieve the symptoms.

At 9am our Macmillan nurse started trying to get Steve a bed in Royal Stoke, he hadn’t eaten since 6pm on Sunday night and by this morning even drinks were making him sick. There were no beds but they said by lunchtime it would be ok

It was 2pm when we got a call to go but it was to a&e as there were still no beds but by the time we got there there would be- and anyway – he’s on chemo and has his fast track card right?

We arrived not long after 3pm – getting on for 24 hours since he had eaten and there we sat, at 4:36pm Steve was assessed as a priority but we were told ‘there are very few senior drs in this hospital that willBe able to make a decision about what next but we need to get you admitted’

At 21:30 having sat up right for over 6 hours, nearly 5 hours after he was told he was a priority and in significant pain he was taken through to a&e where we saw a lovely dr who was very apologetic in saying that they could do nothing for us tonight but manage the pain.

At 1am Steve was finally taken to a bed and I came home. In about 4 hours our 7 year old will dive out of bed and run downstairs looking for Daddy – he is usually up early at the moment with the discomfort and all but that means our son gets half an hour with him before school. Tomorrow I’m going to have to tell him that the treatment we told him would only take 2 hours hasn’t been done yet and Daddy is still in the hospital.

We sat for hours, to the point I ended up crying and begging them to help my husband – no one came – not because they didn’t want to but because they simply couldn’t- we sat and watched minor injury after minor injury come in, get assessed, treated and move on or out.

If I treated my dog the way my husband has been treated today I would be banned from looking after animals for life…….

Oh by the way – you can keep the pillow we took with us, I can buy another and at least it meant he had one when he finally got to lie down

Jeremy Hunt sort your s*** out (sorry Mum) let those drs and nurses who so desperately want to help and care do their jobs. Smiles go a long way but without a well resourced hospital with open beds and enough staff it doesn’t do enough to ease the suffering of those fighting for the life they have left.

I will be back tomorrow…..sorry, in a few hours, slightly rested and ready to take whatever you throw at us



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