The parents of a teenager with a rare type of cancer have said they were "let down" on the night that she died, as a Suffolk Hospital has apologised for the treatment of the family.

According to minutes from the West Suffolk Council NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) board meeting in September, the parents of the teenager, who died at West Suffolk Hospital on December 14, 2022, said they believed the system "let her down" and called for changes to be made. 

During the meeting, Sue Wilkinson, executive chief nurse at WSFT which runs the Bury St Edmunds hospital, apologised for the way the family were treated on the the night their daughter died.

The girl, who had completed chemotherapy at West Suffolk Hospital, had a sudden relapse in her health in October 2022 and scans confirmed her cancer had spread which meant she had "little to no chance of survival". 

On the evening of her death, she was brought to the hospital's Rainbow ward by her parents after a rapid decline in her heath. 

The meeting heard staff were told she was coming ahead of time so they could prepare, but the family were met by staff who didn't know the teenager's background and did not have access to her care plan. 

The trust said the nurse on duty reacted as best as she could with the information she was told by the parents. 

The meeting was told: "The consultant on duty that was assessing her, didn’t actually check her, rather only asked questions about DNR.

"There appeared to be lot of doctors on the ward, but no one came into the room."

Following the teenager's death, it was found that the processes in place meant the nurse on the ward was not able to properly care for her. 

Her parents said they felt the night had been "about ticking boxes, not caring for the patient" and that the "system let her down". 

They said they want assurances from the hospital that systems are put in place and said it needs to be "the start of change at WSH". 

Sue Wilkinson, executive chief nurse, apologised for the way the family were treated on the the night.

The meeting heard that the trust found there was a lack of communication which meant clinicians did not know what the management plan was.

They said the plans, which had been agreed at Addenbrookes hospital, had not been loaded onto the electronic patient record system.

They said changes have now been made so that management plans are loaded up and assurance is provided that this has been done and shared.

They acknowledged that staff focused on things in the wrong order and should have given her medication to clam her before filling out the DNR paperwork. 

The meeting also heard the trust has "focused more in the wards on speaking up and feeling able to raise concerns" with education to staff to raise the alarm and escalate issues rapidly if they feel they need help/have concerns.

Her parents said that they have felt they have been listened to by the trust since their daughter's death.

The meeting was told that before her diagnosis, she was a normal teenager with no previous health worries.