"Administration is an unacceptable weak link in an otherwise exemplary service"

About: Southern General Hospital / Neurology Victoria Infirmary / Cardiology

(as the patient),

I was taken into hospital (Victoria Infirmary) by ambulance last August and discharged two days later.

I fully appreciate my good fortune in the incidental findings of atrial fibrillation and atrophy/right central lacunar infarction allowing ongoing preventive treatment to be started. Indeed follow up appointments in cardiology (Dr Andrew Davie) and neurology (Dr Ian Reeves) at the Southern General Hospital have proceeded swiftly and helpfully to take this forward in a most efficient and helpful way. I have been fully and completely involved in decision making and feel that my concerns and questions have been/are fully considered.

However my discharge letter clearly stated that I should be seen by ENT outpatient as there was a concern that some of my symptoms indicated that I could be suffering from vertigo. Despite numerous requests by my GP to follow this up I have still not heard anything from the ENT department. I have received a letter which states he is ‘unsure why my ENT review was delayed. ’

In the meantime I have gone on to experience debilitating vertigo-like symptoms or ‘attacks’ on four occasions, at which time I have contacted my GP or attended the Victoria Infirmary as a self-referred outpatient when the GP surgery was shut. As far as I’m aware my GP has contacted ENT to seek an urgent assessment or review on my behalf on several occasions.

As of this day of writing I have still heard nothing from the ENT department.

My observation as a patient or client to assist with your aim of “making a real difference to health services” is therefore to juxtapose the excellence of the ambulance service, A&E and inpatient service, the cardiologist and the neurologist with the unexplained delay in arranging my ENT appointment.

As a patient, I see the NHS needing to function like a chain and despite the excellence of the above-quoted links, I am bound to conclude the administrative failure in following up my ENT issues is an unacceptable weak link in an otherwise exemplary service.

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

Responses

Response from Paul Cannon, Head of Administration, Acute Services Division, Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS

Dear Nifty231

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

The follow up of patients - like you - by one specialty after discharge by another is an area that requires careful coordination if this is to happen successfully, especially as in your case this was a specialty (ENT) based in a different hospital (Southern General Hospital) from the one you were discharged from (General Medicine at Victoria).

We are sorry this did not happen in your case and we will take steps to investigate why - so that this doesn't happen to other patients in the future.

Thank you for being persistent in chasing this up, and the system is now showing that you have, finally, had your ENT appointment.

You are correct, our system is only as strong as our weakest link. In your case this was the administration of your referral to ENT, and our failure to make sure this happened for you.

Thank you for your positive comments about other aspects of your care, which we will share with them.

If you have any further problems with appointments related to this, please contact me at I.reeves@nhs.net and I will investigate this for you personally.

Kind Regards

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

Updates, changes and questions related to this story