IN the light of the debate over patients’ rights to a second opinion following the death of Martha Mills, I would like to describe my experience of my husband’s care at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital. 

My husband died there two years ago following a five-week stay as an in-patient. He had an extremely rare immunological condition and was under the care of a team of specialists at the Royal Free Hospital in London. 

Despite my utmost efforts to open lines of communication between the team there and the doctors treating him in Winchester, direct advice was never sought from his London specialists by the Winchester Respiratory Ward team.

I can identify two key points where their advice, which was freely offered, could well have proved a turning point in his care. In addition, when I flagged up my concerns about his care during the weekends, they were brushed aside and I believe it was no coincidence that it was during a weekend that he died.

I have tried to raise these points with RHCH since my husband’s death in the hope of improving patient care and reducing the strain on next of kin who ought not to be expected to facilitate what should simply be good protocol. I have been stonewalled.

Drusilla Belfield,
Lankhills Road,

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