THE FAMILY of a patient rushed to the Grange University Hospital one evening last week were unable to get an update on her condition until around 9pm the next day.

Tracy Williams, 56, who has terminal cancer, was rushed in on the evening of Wednesday May 26, after a seizure.

She was stabilised in the early hours of Thursday, and husband Ian, and sons Daniel and Sam, were told they could go home and would be updated by phone on further developments.


“It got to 10.30am on the Thursday and still no update,” said Daniel. “We were all very understandably worried.

“After around 20 minutes of being on hold and being given different numbers we finally get through and speak to someone. A wonderful nurse assured us of the situation and promised to call back later in the day to update us further.”

However, by 4pm, the family still had received no update.

“Me and my father both tried to call and for two hours we were either on hold or the number rang out or was answered then instantly put down.”

They decided to drive to the Grange from Caldicot at around 7pm, where they were informed at the A&E department that Mrs Williams was no longer there.

“My mother was no longer in the room she was in that morning, so we had to go around to the main entrance to find out where she was - let alone her actual condition,” said Daniel.

“The lady on reception told us that she had been moved to the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU). She gave me a phone number. I called it 67 times with no answer.

“Eventually two hours after arriving, we were able to speak to someone who provided us with an update. I want answers as to why they’re understaffed. The doctors and nurses are real heroes but are fighting a losing battle.

“I’m sure people would volunteer to help answer the phones to help stressed families. I would.

“We hope by highlighting the awful communication, it means another family doesn’t go through what mine has had to deal with.”

Mrs Williams has now been moved to the Royal Gwent Hospital.

An Aneurin Bevan University Health Board spokeswoman said: “We are really sorry to hear of the difficulties this family experienced in receiving information about their mother’s condition, and we truly appreciate how distressing this must have been for all involved.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused us to change the way we communicate with families, and so we have put a number of measures in place to facilitate this.

“We have recruited patient liaison officers to assist with digital family connections, who are available seven days a week across all areas of the Grange University Hospital, as well as all of our other hospitals.

“We have also secured additional telephony support and ward clerks to assist on our wards, along with keeping family communication records for every patient, which are updated daily.”