A DEVASTATED widow 'still has nightmares' about how her husband was treated in his final hours by a nurse from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, who she claims left him in 'excruciating pain' as he lay dying.

Betty Rogers was with her husband Clive on June 14 at their Kidlington home when his terminal oesophageal cancer began to deteriorate.

Despite having an Out of Hours plan set up with their GP for end of life care and initially calling the NHS 111 number at 10pm for help the 75-year-old was forced to call again more than an hour and a half later when no nurse arrived.

Mrs Rogers, who was also with the couple's two children, said when a nurse did come just after midnight with a paramedic, she was wearing false nails, a hoodie, did not wear gloves and 'dismissed' calls from the family to start a syringe driver – a small battery-powered pump that delivers medication at a constant rate and is commonly used in palliative care.

A syringe driver was eventually set up at 6am by the same nurse after the family called 111 again at 5am. Mr Rogers died later that day.

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The trust has admitted Mr Rogers and his family were 'badly let down' by the 'poor communication and poor interaction' from staff.

In a complaint to Oxford Health, which runs the county's Out of Hours Services, Mrs Rogers, who had been with her husband since she was 17 years old, said she did not believe the woman who came to their home was 'fit to wear a nurse's uniform', explaining: "My husband was begging for help and very distressed during this time.

"I cannot believe that there was anything that should take priority over a dying person, in unbelievable pain, who was waiting to have a syringe driver fitted to alleviate the pain."

She added of the nurse refusing to set up the syringe driver during the initial visit: "Her response was that she didn't do it the first time because he seemed 'settled'. He was in excruciating pain and in no way 'settled'.

"The incompetence during these hours caused my husband to be in great distress and excruciating pain.

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"That has caused great distress to me and my family. This is something we have to live with and do not wish this to happen to any other person."

She added: "The careful planning that was put in place by my husband's GP to make sure that his life ended peacefully was totally pulled apart by [the nurse] and I would like her to be taken to task so that she cannot cause pain to any other person."

Oxford Health's clinical director Pete McGrane responded to the complaint on October 4, following an investigation by the trust's Head of Nursing for Community Services, John Campbell.

He said:"Mr Campbell has concluded that it is very apparent that despite the best efforts of you and your family, [Mr Rogers' GP] Dr Wallard and the District Nursing Team, your husband had a very poor experience at end of life.

"Although it is difficult to directly assess the clinical decision making at the time, it is very likely that you husband was experiencing more pain and discomfort than was recognised by [the nurse] when she attended at 00.10 in the morning of June 15, 2019."

He added: "I would like to sincerely apologise for this on behalf of the service and the trust. It would have been reasonable to commence a syringe driver on the first visit, as discussed with the Out of Hours GP during your telephone consultation at 22.02, than leave this to be reassessed in the morning."

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He added: "Poor communication and poor interaction, on the part of the trust staff that attended that night led to a breakdown in trust which was compounded by the unprofessional appearance of [the nurse].

"I apologise that as a family you were badly let down and felt that your husband spent a significant period in pain and discomfort and that you were not listened to or heard.

"I can understand why you might feel disregarded, disappointed, angry and traumatised by these events."

He said a meeting had been held with the nurse to discuss the investigation findings and the case would be discussed at a steering group meeting.

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Mrs Rogers said she was not satisfied with the trust's response, explaining: "There needs to be proper disciplinary action against the nurse, who had a young paramedic with her.

"I still have nightmares about my husband begging for help."

A statement from Oxford Health said the trust was 'concerned and sorry' to learn of Mrs Rogers' experience, adding: "We have conducted a thorough investigation into her complaint and, while the matter is still ongoing, we are committed to working closely with the family.

"We are always focused on improving the care we deliver to our patients at the end of their lives and to their families."