Patients’ champ helps King’s Lynn Hospital

Denise Charlesworth - Smith fighting for the truth about the Liverpool Care Pathway after the death of her father, Philip Charlesworth. ANL-161202-110320001
Denise Charlesworth - Smith fighting for the truth about the Liverpool Care Pathway after the death of her father, Philip Charlesworth. ANL-161202-110320001
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A patients’ champion from West Norfolk is to help Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital to make sure it provides compassionate car for the dying.

Denise Charlesworth-Smith, of Brookville, near Methwold, has volunteered to gain feedback from people who are receiving end-of-life care from the hospital and their relatives.

Mrs Charlesworth-Smith was a member of the Neuberger Panel which was commissioned by the Government to examine concerns raised by relatives of patients dying in hospitals.

She had come to prominence after the experience she suffered when her father Philip, 82, was put on the Liverpool Care Pathway at a Nottinghamshire hospital as he neared the end of his life in 2012.

The pathway was designed to ease the passing of the terminally ill. But Mrs Charlesworth-Smith felt his family was excluded from important decisions by medics.

Anyone who has recently been bereaved, or is a friend or relation of a person who is at the end of their life, cared for in the hospital is asked to get in touch. Mrs Charlesworth-Smith would be keen to discuss any aspect of the care received by email PALSMailbox@qehkl.nhs.uk.

Calls can also be taken by the Patient Advice and Liaison Service at the trust on 01553 613351 and forwarded to Mrs Charlesworth-Smith for her response. All conversations will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Mrs Charlesworth-Smith said: “I am passionate about achieving the best end of life care for everyone, so I am very pleased to be working as a volunteer with the QEH.

“I really want to hear from families about their experiences, good or bad, in order to eradicate the bad and promote the good practices at The Trust. If you have recently been bereaved and want to discuss what happened with your loved ones then please get in touch with me – your opinion matters.”

Dr Beverly Watson, director of medicine at the QEH, said: “We are so glad that Denise will be volunteering for us as we aim for excellence. The wealth of experience and knowledge she brings is a huge advantage and

we thank her for her time. Everything that Denise captures about people’s experience of end of life care here, from both patients and their relatives, will be listened to and built into our journey of improvement. We would encourage people to be really honest and share openly how they feel.”

Mrs Charlesworth-Smith will also be available for occasional drop-in sessions located in the carer’s cafe opposite Costa Coffee in the hospital foyer. A poster will be displayed when she is on site.