An 88-year-old man has spent more than three months in hospital despite being medically fit to go home after 24 hours, following an astonishing catalogue of NHS and care delays, and hospital-acquired infections and injuries.

The case of Terry Hill - who is still at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital following his November admission - highlights chronic problems in the health and care sectors over how patients are passed between the two, and how some end up spending far longer on wards than necessary.

It was discussed at a hospital board meeting this week, where bosses admitted there were "missed opportunities" to get Mr Hill home.

The meeting heard that during his time in hospital, he has lost more than 6kg in weight and his health has seriously deteriorated.

Sharon Wrath, a ward sister, said: "When he was admitted he was a really cheeky character who was straight-talking and had an infectious smile. But over the time he has been here, he has grown more and more frustrated with the situation and has lost his smile."

Eastern Daily Press: An aerial photograph of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital


Mr Hill's ordeal began after he was taken to hospital by ambulance on November 7.

He had pressed his pendant alarm at his home as he had a headache, although he did not believe he had suffered a fall.

At the time he was living alone and largely independently, but with a package of care in place which saw him visited by carers three times a day.

Eastern Daily Press:

He underwent initial tests including urine samples, a bladder scan and blood pressure readings, but the following day he was judged as medically fit to go home.

However, problems arranging the necessary transport saw his discharge delayed.



Meanwhile, during his first days at hospital his care package lapsed, with a new one not available for five days - further prolonging his stay.

Then, while he was waiting to go home he began experiencing signs of delirium, tested positive for Covid-19 and had to be moved to a side room.

He continued to be mobile during this time using a walking frame, but would go on to suffer a fall.

His stay in hospital has since been further extended by a severe choking episode, catching norovirus and a wait of more than 62 days for a short-term bed for discharge.



His case was discussed at a meeting of the N&N's board of directors on Wednesday during the 'patient story' sections - when case studies are shared to present learning opportunities.

Eastern Daily Press: Nick Hulme.

Nick Hulme, the trust's interim chief executive, said Mr Hill's case emphasised the importance of hospitals being able to swiftly discharge patients when they are fit to go home.

He said: "It strikes me that there are these 'Sliding Doors' moments here that were missed opportunities (for Mr Hill to go home).

"Hopsitals can be harmful places unless people need to be here clinically and this is why we have got to concentrate on the moments when people are well enough to go home.

"When I hear of this case it emphasises what can happen if you do miss those moments - those 24 hours have become 93 days.

"If you do not get people out at the right time, in the right moment, this is the kind of thing that can happen."



The meeting was told how Mr Hill's health has seriously deteriorated in hospital and he has suffered two further falls.

In a report put before the board, patient and experience facilitator Rosie Bloomfield wrote: "As a trust we are continuing to make efforts to improve patient flow across the trust and within the community.

"Terry's story highlights the importance of speedy discharge for older people and the impact deconditioning has on people while in hospital."

As a result of Mr Hill's experience, the hospital has also extended the opening hours of its older person's emergency department to 24 hours a day.

It comes at a time when the hospital is having to resort to care for patients in corridors in an effort to help ambulances get back on the road.