A hospital horror story has uncovered a series of failings in our National Health Service.

No beds available in intensive care, patients looked after by "health care assistants", nursing notes being lost and the wife of a dying man feeling as though she was a "worrier" are just some of the incidents revealed.

A hospital matron admitted that too many agency staff meant there was "no consistency" in the care of patients leading to a lack of communication among staff.

A coroner raised a series of concerns about patients' care at the inquest into the death of a Sussex man.

Painter and decorator David Dyke appeared to be recovering well at Worthing Hospital after undergoing a bowel operation.

But just five days later he died.

The inquest heard the 61-year-old made a heartbreaking call to his wife and son hours before his death telling them how ill he felt.

Just two days earlier a nurse told Jill, his wife of 30 years, "there was nothing to worry about" when she raised concerns about his health.

Yesterday David Skipp, assistant deputy coroner for West Sussex, told Mrs Dyke and her son Jamie they had every right to be "angry".

The family are now considering taking further action against Worthing and Southlands Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Worthing Hospital.

Mr Dyke was taken to the hospital on October 31 last year to have a tumour removed from his bowel.

The day after the procedure he was in 'high spirits', sitting on a chair by his bed drinking coffee and chatting to his family when they visited.

But 24 hours later his condition started to deteriorate.

Mrs Dyke told the hearing: "He looked unwell, he was pale and his hands were cold, later that evening he started being sick.

"I asked the nurse when I could talk to a doctor and they told me not to worry – that it was normal."

She told the hearing that staff made her feel like a "worrier".

The following day, Monday November 3, Mrs Dyke and her son waited three and a half hours to see a doctor but he never showed up.

The inquest heard how it was on this evening that Mr Dyke's oxygen levels went up to a 'danger zone' but this was never picked up.

On Tuesday they were told his condition had improved.

But when Mrs Dyke arrived she was shocked to find her husband in an isolation ward.

The hearing was told it was likely that it was during this period that Mr Dyke had contracted an E Coli infection - a common bacteria which becomes dangerous when it circulates in the bloodstream.

Medical staff had believed he was suffering from a condition connected to the surgery.

As a result he was not given antibiotics, which would have fought the infection.

The family asked why Mr Dyke was not in intensive care but were told he was a "borderline" case.

But hospital notes, read out at the inquest, revealed that no beds were in fact available.

At 6.50am on Wednesday November 5, Mr Dyke called the family home telling them he believed he had a chest infection.

Later that day, after being visited by his son, doctors decided Mr Dyke needed emergency surgery but he died on the way to the operating theatre from pneumonia.

Dr William Woods, the surgeon who operated on Mr Dyke, admitted that his patient had been in a "very serious condition" but he was unable to make a diagnosis.

He also said medical notes show antibiotics were suggested for Mr Dyke but never administered.

Mr Skipp said: "Someone suggested them and they weren't given – do you think that had a part to play in this?"

Dr Woods replied: "In retrospect – yes."

He added he did not know why they had not been given.

The hearing also heard that the E Coli infection was found in the lungs and was therefore not a result of surgery.

Dr Woods said: "We haven't pin-pointed the source of the infection to this day."

The day before Mr Dyke died an unknown doctor told Mrs Dyke her husband was 'normal' and would be able to go home in a few days.

When questioned why the family were told Mr Dyke's condition was 'normal' Dr Woods agreed the information had not been accurate.

He said: "At whatever stage, those reassurances she was given turned out to be wrong."

He agreed that the lack of a bed for Mr Dyke was an issue but that it was not uncommon for major surgery to be cancelled because the hospital's six intensive care beds were full.

When queried as to why Mr Dyke had only had his blood pressure checked every three and a half hours Dr Woods said it was 'not satisfactory'.

He said: "In retrospect it's very clear there was something brewing during the course of November 4, which came to a head later that night."

Matron Kim Cheetham said he had been looked after by healthcare assistants with just nine days of training at the hospital.

She said: "They can be anyone but some of them have experience in care homes."

She said the hospital was dependent on agency nurses meaning there was a 'lack of consistency' in patient care and communication between staff was 'extremely difficult'.

Mr Skipp recorded a narrative verdict, concluding that Mr Dyke had died from E Coli septicaemia.

After the hearing Mr Dyke's son Jamie said in a statement: "David's sudden and unexpected death came as a great shock.

"The whole experience has been devastating for the family. We don't want to say too much at the present time because we are considering our options in terms of further steps that may be taken."

No one from Worthing and Southlands NHS Trust was available for comment last night.

Have you or a family member been shocked at your treatment in hospital? Leave your comments below or email news@theargus.co.uk