A patient says she fears for her health when she receives treatment for cystic fibrosis because of the conditions at a major London hospital.
Sarah Rainer, 30, (pictured above) said in-patients on the specialist ward at King’s College hospital were being forced to share a single bathroom – in breach of advice for people with the lung and digestive condition not to mix to avoid cross-infection.
She said: “Our health is being jeopardised by having to share a bathroom with other cystic fibrosis patients.
“It’s frightening. Every time I have a hospital appointment, I’m petrified to come in. I don’t know if I’m going to pick something else up from sharing a bathroom. It’s really important to get the new unit we have been promised for however long.
“It scares the life out of me being admitted to hospital. The bathroom is the most germ ridden place there can be. I try hard not be an in-patient and I really fear being told I have to come to King’s.”
Almost 200 cystic fibrosis patients receive care at King’s College hospital, in Denmark Hill.
The Cystic Fibrosis Trust has offered King’s £432,000 to upgrade the “not fit for purpose” nine-bed adult ward but says the offer has gone untouched since 2010. The offer expires next March .
It has launched a petition calling for an urgent upgrade and has called on King’s chief executive Tim Smart and NHS England to act.
The charity said that patients were told last year a new unit would be completed by the end of 2014 but this has proved to be the latest in a “catalogue of false promises”.
Ed Owen, chief executive at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, said: “People with cystic fibrosis receiving their care at King’s have been let down time and time again. They have been promised improved facilities and yet still no decision has been taken to honour the commitments made.
“As a result, despite the fantastic work of the clinical team at King’s, their health is being put at risk.”
While receiving treatment, the patients talk to each other via Facebook. “I don’t know anybody who is happy with this situation,” Ms Rainer said. One patient had refused to attend King’s because of the problem, she said.
Ms Rainer, a hospital healthcare assistant who travels from Eastbourne for up to two weeks of specialist treatment two or three times a year, said only one lavatory was currently available as one was broken and another was reserved for a patient in isolation.
A King’s College hospital spokesman said “strict infection control protocols” were in place on the ward.
He said: “We are extremely grateful to the CF Trust for their offer of support, and we are looking at how we can expand and refurbish the ward space. Our specialist CF team deliver first-rate care, and we want the facilities to match.
“We are one of the busiest hospitals in the country, and provide a number of specialist services. Expanding the CF ward is one of our priorities, but it must be delivered alongside a number of other vital building and improvement works planned, all of which are designed to improve patient care.
“We will continue to keep patients informed about our future plans for the service.”