MP makes heartfelt plea as he says his late mother-in-law 'deserved much better'

MP Dr Andrew Murrison is a qualified doctor Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/PA Images

An MP has made a heartfelt plea as he described his mother-in-law's final days in hospital, saying she "deserved much better".

Conservative MP Dr Andrew Murrison said his relative's experience at Salisbury's spinal unit was in "acute medicine's bewildering freneticism, noise and clamour”.

The qualified doctor called on the Government to tackle bed blocking and for people “entering their final days” to be prioritised for care in the more “homely” setting of a community hospital bed.

The South West Wiltshire MP told the Commons: “In November, my mother-in-law died in Salisbury’s renowned spinal unit. But Selma did not have a spinal problem. She did have the general frailty and multiple co-morbidities of advanced old age.

“Her management overall was good in parts. But modern district general hospitals are not configured for long-term care of the elderly or terminal care.

“So a good and gentle person spent her final days in acute medicine’s bewildering freneticism, noise and clamour. It was very far from ideal.

“She deserved much better. I have seen much better, notably in community hospitals and intermediate care.

“An acute hospital is no place for an elderly person no longer receiving active medical management. I would go further and say that our frantically busy acute units operating in the white heat of high-tech, cutting-edge medicine can be unsafe for them.”

Dr Murrison said there were an average of 5,370 people per day who were bed blocking as of February 2020.

He added that the picture of the “costly” problem since then was unknown because data collection had been suspended during the pandemic.

He told MPs his Healthcare (Delayed Discharges) Bill, which he named Selma’s Bill after his mother-in-law, would carry “a special category of asterisk delayed discharge for those judged by lead clinicians to be entering their final days”.

“This category reported as a subset will be subject to fast tracking to speed the transfer of the most vulnerable from inappropriate acute settings to more appropriate homely settings in the community,” said Dr Murrison.

Other measures in the Bill, introduced as a 10-minute rule motion, would include requiring lead hospital clinicians to “certify daily which of their patients are fit for discharge”.

The Bill also seeks to establish delayed discharge as a “patient safety issue” which could be investigated by a proposed Health Services Safety Investigation Branch.