"Pain service not fit for purpose"

About: Royal Berkshire Hospital

Anything else?

Apparently, if you are unfortunate enough to be an Inpatient in this hospital, only medication such as paracetamol, codeine, anti-epileptics, antidepressants or opiates are available for extreme pain. Pain treatments such as pulsed radio-frequency (PRF) treatment are only offered to Outpatients and there is a 9 month waiting list after you have waited for an Outpatient clinic appointment. This then could well add up to a 12 month wait. I was told by the Pain Nurse Specialist that to have PRF as an inpatient (or other such treatment) would be "jumping the queue" ! My daughter heard the same from the Consultant. At no point is Patient need considered. My daughter was admitted to hospital because of severe debilitating pain last Sunday. On Thursday she had her first investigation apart from the usual blood tests. Since Sunday she has received nothing that was not already available to her, by prescription, at home. I am even having to take in special wound dressings (also on prescription) for her to dress her own wound. She has been humiliated by the manner/attitude of both the Pain Consultant and Pain Nurse to the point where other patients have comforted her and expressed their disbelief (to me) at the way she has been spoken to. When she asked for help they replied "what do you want us to do?" When she answered she was told she would have to come to Outpatients and an appointment would be arranged. She begged for help now, as that was why she was in hospital in the first place. She is unable to walk or move due to pain yet she is expected to travel to an Outpatients clinic which would then be followed by a wait for PRF treatment of 9 months. Her previous hospital would have helped her if not immediately, within a week. I have been told that at RBH that there is 1 treatment day a week and that is why there is so many months delay. I feel for all pain patients at the inadequate service from a 3 Consultant led team. My daughter is so distressed and feeling 'life isn't worth living' that staff asked for her to be supported by the mental health team. 3 days later, despite follow up calls, they have not appeared. My daughter is not a child. She is a women with debilitating illnesses who is on support allowance. Lying in a hospital bed she feels humiliated and disenfranchised by those intimidating people towering over her at the end of her sick bed asking her " what do you want us to do". I will answer that. Your job.

Story from NHS Choices

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Royal Berkshire Hospital

We are very sorry to hear that you and your daughter were unhappy and upset with the discussion about her care and treatment and we apologise for any distress that has been caused. Indeed the pain team along with the other specialties that are looking after your daughter have since spoken to her and appraised her of the treatment plan and her pain management. We also agree with you about the waiting times for these treatments and the fact that patients in pain shouldn’t have to wait so long. We understand that patients like your daughter need a comprehensive service but at present we are unable to offer this any quicker be it outpatient or inpatient. We are working hard to rectify this situation. Complex invasive procedures such as radiofrequency can only be offered when a diagnosis is clear and in this case investigations were still ongoing. We would encourage you to contact the relevant team along with your daughter so that this can be discussed more thoroughly.

  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful

Updates, changes and questions related to this story