Leamington woman's frustration at mum's cancer care at hospitals

Rose Kyberd. Photo submitted.
Rose Kyberd. Photo submitted.

A woman from Leamington has become increasing frustrated with the care her mother has received before and after her cancer diagnosis.

Amanda Labarbera has hit out at the way her mum Rose Kyberd, 55, has been treated by Warwick Hospital.

Warwick Hospital GV.

Warwick Hospital GV.

She said that leading up to Rose’s diagnosis of incurable oesophageal cancer there were a number of delays and that after diagnosis they were left not knowing what was happening.

“We were told the cancer was incurable but that it could be treated but they said they couldn’t tell us what treatments as they weren’t sure about the type of cancer other than it was in her oesophagus.

“They did a CT scan and it showed widespread swelling in lymph nodes which could mean a number of things such as the cancer had spread, it was a different cancer or it was nothing.

“After that there were issues with getting a biopsy and it was recommended we have a PET scan.

“We had no offer of any oncology support and we just wanted to know what could happen going forward.

“We were referred to Oxford for the PET scan but there was a four-week waiting list and when we rang the hospital about this we got told ‘it is what it is’.

“I then contacted them to ask to speak to the chief executive (at Warwick Hospital) and then ended up speaking to the patient experience people who said people would ring back but no one did.

“I then spoke to someone in the management team and told them about no cancer support help or oncologist and they said they would follow up.

“We then got told we were being referred to University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) as there was no room at Warwick. I then had to chase up about that because no referrals had been received.

“The person at UHCW rang back quickly and gave mum all the information and they are now in charge of her care.

“They have guidelines about cancer patients receiving diagnosis and treatment within 62 days at the time we were moved to UHCW it was more than 80 days and I think it is going to be more like 100 days, almost double the guidelines for treatment.

“We were also told that mum was entitled to free prescriptions and she has been paying all this time. She was also offered no pain relief and I had to ask for tablets in liquid form and nutrients drinks because she couldn’t swallow well.

“Mum felt like the team at Warwick Hospital were leaving her to die.”

Since University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire took over Rose’s care Amanda says they are still no clearer about treatment.

She said: “Since moving to UHCW we still have no treatment plan and there’s no sign of an oncologist. We had to wait three weeks for a PET scan and waiting for results to potentially find out of a referral to a surgeon for a biopsy but we are probably looking at another five weeks before anything happens.

“I get UHCW are doing their best and they are more open with us but we get stonewalled about speaking to an oncologist. They specialise in cancer and can answer questions and tell you about possible treatments.

“You are left with this ‘what if?’ view and it is difficult as a family. I am just sat back watching mum deteriorate before my eyes and I don’t have anyone to ask questions to.

“I just hope by telling our story the trust looks at its policies and procedures.”

A spokesperson from South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust: “Due to patient confidentiality we are unable to comment on any specific cases, however in every scenario treating patients with the utmost compassion is the Trust’s main priority.

“We recognise the importance of regular communication with patients and our clinicians ensure all patients are kept up to date with their treatment plans and supporting information.

“If any patient feels they have not been treated accordingly, we would strongly encourage them to raise this through our Patient Advice Liason service, so we can thoroughly investigate and respond directly.

“Urgent cancer referrals have increased significantly in the last year, which has been a challenge for the organisation.

“However, ensuring all cancer patients receive diagnosis and treatment within 62 days is a priority for the Trust and after extensive work in this area performance has improved significantly throughout 2019.”

A spokesman for University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust said: “Like South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, we’re unable to comment on individual cases.

“We always aim to be open, honest and transparent in the care and compassion we provide.

“All feedback is used to further improve the patient experience in our hospitals.”