This is the third in a series of extracts from witness statements submitted to the Francis Inquiry by relations of those treated by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. We reproduce these extracts as the Labour Party launches new claims that only they can be trusted with the NHS. The full statement of this witness, the son of a patient, can be read here.

‘My mother was a very independent [person]…living on her own, having been widowed eight years previously.’

‘In April 2008, my mother was admitted to Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Hospital…’

‘…My wife and I were on holiday at the time my mother was admitted to hospital. We returned from holiday a few days later and visited my mother in hospital on Ward 8. It was as if she was as totally different person. She was very confused.’

‘…we were absolutely horrified when we learned about three days later that the hospital wanted to discharge my mother. My mother lived alone and clearly would not have been able to cope. We therefore requested that Social Services carry out an assessment prior to her being discharged…It took a week before a social worker was even appointed…’

‘Following the assessment, my mother was discharged from hospital and sent home. This did not work out, and my mother was re-admitted to hospital following a fall at home.’

‘…it was not long before it was suggested that my mother be discharged again and sent home. The new care arrangements involved my mother having a bed downstairs and an overnight carer. Again this did not work out, and within a day or so my mother was re-admitted to hospital following another fall at home.;

‘At that time my mother continued to deteriorate. We were desperately trying to find out what was really wrong with her and were feeling increasingly exasperated. My mother had a distended stomach for a very long time. We also told the hospital that the GP had informed us that she was admitted to hospital querying whether she had suffered a stroke, we simply could not get anybody to take up this issue…’

‘…It was decided that, following discharge from the hospital, my mother should go to a nursing home because the proposed care package for her to stay in her own home had not worked. We did the rounds and found one we liked and which we thought would be suitable. We set the wheels in motion, only to find the social worker blocked it. The social worker informed us that the home was not suitable.’

‘Near the start of my mother’s time in hospital, she had a fall. The hospital did not notify us of the fall, nor did they apologise.My mother was very badly scarred. We are absolutely horrified when we saw the state of her…We do not know the circumstances in which my mother had a fall at the hospital. We think that possible she wanted to go to the toilet, and that as nobody came to take her, she tried to make her own way…’

‘My mother was discharged from hospital on a number of occasions and subsequently re-admitted. The discharge process was quite frankly useless. I recall that on one occasion the discharge was delayed as my mother fell into a diabetic coma. Her diabetes was not properly controlled during her time in hospital…’

‘My mother had real difficulties seeing and hearing. She was unable to feed herself. We informed the staff at the hospital of this, and requested help. No help was provided. During my mother’s time at the hospital, she lost weight very rapidly. This was very clear to see. I think there was a failure by staff to help patients feed themselves. I recall seeing other patients in the ward whose meals were placed at the end of their bed, where they could not reach them…’

‘…My mother’s experience at the hospital was horrific. It was a very difficult time for my wife and I. We were close to breaking point. There were so may highs, followed by so many lows. On so many occasions we felt as though we were slowly moving forward, only to find that we did not.’

‘After my mother’s death, we were at our wits end.’