Nurses were brought to tears by the care being given to patients on some wards at Stafford Hospital, the public inquiry into Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust was told last week.
Witness Sandra Whitehouse described meeting two nurses in April 2007, three months after her 83 year old mother Joan Morris died at the hospital.
The meeting was called in response to complaints by Ms Whitehouse, a day centre manager who had spent time training as a nurse cadet, about the care her mother received during her month long stay.
She described meeting with the two nurses in a “broom cupboard” where they “burst into tears” and told her there were no nurses on a named ward from 1pm-3pm.
She said angrily: “For two qualified nurses to sit down in front of you and cry, you know, who were they crying for? Were they ashamed of what they’d done to my mum? Because I know if I’d have been a nurse – and when I was a nurse, I would have hung my cloak up there and then.”
“They were crocodile tears. They weren’t sincere tears… they’ve got no right to cry. They hadn’t earned that right to cry. They hadn’t. They were insulting me. They were insulting my mum.
“It’s like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.”
However, another witness –Beverley Howell – told of how nurses had encouraged her to complain about the care of her father in the hope that management would take note.
Ms Howell said: “There was one member of staff there at night that we expressed concerns to, and [they] said ‘I go home at night in tears because I can’t do the job properly’…
“When my father was on the ward and I spoke to the nurse, I said I wasn’t happy and I was going to complain, and she begged me to complain. She said ‘If you complain it will help us.’”
The inquiry is expected to last into the middle of next year.