"Opthalmology Dept - Language Linkworker Service"

About: Burnley General Hospital

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On 10th September, my mother, who is aged 75 years and speaks a little English had an appointment for cataract surgery (right eye). We had travelled from Blackburn to Burnley. On behalf of my mother, I had completed a form to request for a Gujerati Language Linkworker to be present and I was advised at the pre-assessment operation that relatives are not allowed to translate on the day of the surgery. When she had received the appointment letter, I had phoned the booking administrator to ensure that the language linkworker is present. I had also phoned the Reception at the Eye Clinic , BGH, and I was told that a language linkworker will be present as she nornally is on a Tuesday. I had to take time off from work in the afternoon as she had to report at the reception at 12.30pm. Further tests were carried out including eye drops being installed by the nurses as my mother could understand them a little and she was very cooperative. However, at 3.15pm, one of the nurses came to the Relatives Waiting Room to inform me that the surgery was cancelled as the language linkworker had another appointment at 2pm and will not be returning to translate for my mother. The nurses had informed the consultant who had refused to carry out the surgery. My mother was very upset and I was very annoyed as my mother had been put through all this and also for me having to book time off work unncessarily. One of the nurses booked another appointment for my mother to go back to BGH on 13th Sept 2013 and emphasised that she will ensure that a language linkworker will be present. I had to take time off from work again on 13th Sept 2013. On 13th Sept, the language linkworker was present and she told me that she was an independence language linkworker and there had been no communication with her about my mother requiring her to be present for her surgery. In my opinion, there should be a language linkworker present at all times for the patients and if this is not possible, then communication between the appropriate services needs to be improved.

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Response from Burnley General Hospital

As the Business Manager for the Ophthalmology Directorate, may I first of all express my regret that you have encountered an issue within our service that may have caused inconvenience to yourself and your mother. Within the Ophthalmology department, we appreciate all feedback, whether it be positive or otherwise, and use it as an opportunity to learn from the experiences of our patients and visitors to ensure our services are meeting the needs of the local health population. As the comment provided has been done so anonymously, it would not be possible for me to comment on the particulars of this issue at this point however we would welcome the opportunity to investigate this further on your behalf should you wish for us to do so. If this is the case, we would urge you to contact our PALs team either by email to PALS@elht.nhs.uk or via the free- phone number 0800 5872586. This will enable us to fully investigate your concerns and provide you with feedback regarding this matter. Thank you

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