Nurses slept on night shift

PUBLISHED: 15:26 01 February 2007 | UPDATED: 13:48 04 May 2010

NIGHT nurses caring for a dying cancer patient were found sleeping on the job. Over four nights three nurses from two different agencies were caught napping when they should have been working. The patient s family were horrified to discover one sprawled o

NIGHT nurses caring for a dying cancer patient were found sleeping on the job.

Over four nights three nurses from two different agencies were caught napping when they should have been working.

The patient's family were horrified to discover one sprawled out on the sofa and another snoozing in a chair despite being paid £15 an hour for their nine-hour shifts.

And when Deborah Langley found a third nurse sound asleep in her father's room in High Barns, Ely at 4am she lost her temper and threw her out of the house.

Now Deborah and her brother, Mark Lesurf, have complained to their district nurse about the night-time nursing cover.

Deborah, 44, said: "They were supposed to be on night watch and instead they were sleeping. We have had four nurses here and three of them have been asleep on the job.

"Now we don't feel that we can go to sleep and I lie awake at night worrying.

"It was my father's wish to be allowed to die at home. Whatever he wanted we were happy to do for him.

"We coped on our own for two weeks and then asked for help. Now we have got help but it is not reliable."

Deborah and Mark's father was diagnosed with lung cancer just after Christmas.

The pair, who have 16 children between them, the youngest six, left their partners to cope while they moved in to care for him.

Mark's wife and Deborah's husband take turns to cook meals and deliver them to the house.

But after two weeks of round the clock care Deborah fell ill with a kidney infection and the pair were exhausted.

They contacted their district nurse and she arranged for nurses to come to the house at 10pm each evening and stay until 7am.

But on three separate occasions over just four nights the nurses were found sleeping rather than working.

Now the newly-formed Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust has launched an immediate investigation.

Karen Mason, acting director of communications said "The PCT is extremely disappointed to hear about the unsatisfactory level of care provided by agency staff employed by the PCT.

"We sincerely apologise for any distress caused. We have instigated an immediate investigation and will ensure the findings of this investigation are shared with the family.

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