"Coordination problems."

About: Derriford Hospital

Anything else?

This was my first visit to a Hospital in the UK. I went in for assessment since I had some blood in my stool and blood tests showed slight anemia. The first glitch was in the appointment letter. This letter provides a telephone number of the colorectal unit in bold font, saying to call with any questions or issues. The problem is that the number was incorrect. It turns out they had skipped a number in the middle and there was no simple way to find that out online. In any case, it took a little while to figure it out and it required contacting the hospital. Although it was a minor inconvenience for me, I can imagine some elderly person with a serious condition getting rather upset by this. Once at the hospital, signs were well positioned and I had no problem finding the place. There was a bit of a longish wait before seeing the doctor, but nothing unbearable. The person I saw was a young and pleasant guy. He took my history and then proceeded to perform an examination. The examination was pretty painless. At the end of it, they said there were some internal hemorrhoids they could treat right on the spot by banding them, if that was OK with me. Now, that was a procedure I had not looked up in advance. I hate making treatment decisions on the spot and I felt that this procedure should have been explained to me in advance, including the potential risks and how long I could be out after it. In any case, I agreed to do it, as I was reassured there were no side effects (Google it, there are some rare side effects). The banding was mostly painless, but it becomes more painful later on. After the procedure was done, I was simply told to come back in a couple of months for a check up. Nobody else explained anything, and I just left the hospital with my partner. The problem is that, while on a taxi on the way home, I almost fainted, I could barely see and we decided to go back to the hospital to ask if this was normal. The nurse there was very helpful and said that somebody should have talked to me after the procedure and given me a leaflet explaining what was done and what to expect. That included sitting down in the waiting room for 10 minutes. So, there was some kind of lack of coordination there. The leaflet was rather informative, but it still did not mention thing like temporary difficulties passing urine (which I had for a couple of hours afterwards). Overall, I think the preparation and post-procedure phases were suboptimal. In an optimal scenario, I should have been told in advance that internal hemorrhoids were a likely cause of my symptoms and that procedures x,y, z are used to treat them. It's hard to think in the middle of the procedure and make a decision. Similarly, the person who did the procedure could have handed me a leaflet and told me to wait for 10 mins in the waiting room.

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Responses

Response from Mary Anderson, Senior Quality Facilitator, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Good afternoon

Thank you for your feedback and I am disappointed that you were not given more information prior to your procedure and that you felt you had to make a decision regarding treatment on the spot. I also note your concerns regarding the lack of information you were given regarding possible side effects of the treatment and your comments have been shared with the Gastroenterology team for consideration and action. The Trust is grateful to hear about the patient's experience and your own experience highlights some specifics relating to how we communicate with our patients where improvements can be made.

Thank you for your comments.

Best wishes

Mary

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