"Feel let down by this surgery"

About: NHS Lanarkshire

(as a relative),

I was recently on holiday when my husband took a heart attack at the airport on the day we were due to fly home. He was taken to hospital by ambulance and within a couple of hours, was in surgery and had a stent put in. I have to admit the care was second to none and this was in a state hospital. Two days later they showed him the results of the angiogram and it showed another artery almost closed and they asked if he would be happy for another stent to be put in. This was done a day later and he was released from hospital on the next day. The hospital cleanliness was fantastic and the care and attention was also fantastic. The consultant spoke to me every day and reassured me of what was happening.

Luckily my husband is now fighting fit and was allowed to return home two weeks later with a Doctor.

My husband and I have used a Medical Centre in Hamilton since we were children, however, what concerns me, is when the insurance company contacted our surgery.

The insurance company had sent me consent forms which were completed and returned, however they then received an e-mail from my husband’s GP to say he was not happy releasing any information, despite the consent form being sent. I then had to go and get the consent forms, sent by the GP completed again and faxed to the insurance company. This was on the Monday afternoon UK time. The insurance company contacted me again on the Wednesday to say they had still not received any information from the surgery. My husband was being discharged that day and I had paid over £5000 out of my own pocket for the treatment and hotel bills. At this point I was still unsure whether we would be covered or not and was very distressed as it was.

I then called the surgery where I was passed from pillar to post, despite calling from abroad. I asked to speak to the Practice manager who told me she had not heard from the insurance company, but the girl dealing with it at the insurance company contacted me twice to say she had called them and they would not send it. The Manager then said she wouldn’t send it because the company hadn’t paid £100. I said I would pay this to get the information sent as it was urgent, I was then told they do not have a facility to take a payment over the phone! My husband was then on his mobile trying to call a friend who could take £100 to the surgery, bearing in mind, this is a man who has just been discharged from hospital after a heart attack and been through surgery twice in four days! I was extremely distressed by this and not once, was any empathy shown towards me and not once did she ask how my husband was. I am absolutely disgusted by this, considering both our parents and grandparents have used this surgery and we are known there I found this appalling. I was put on hold for 8 minutes and eventually she came back and said they would fax the information, but she was concerned about the £100. I was concerned about the £5000 that I had already had to find and pay!

I feel I have really been let down by this surgery. My husband, son and myself would really like to move to another practice as I do not believe we have been treated in our best interests.

I am also extremely unhappy that this incident happened in the first place as my husband has suffered for angina for a number of years and had an angiogram over 10 years ago where he was advised that several arteries were partly blocked, this has never been followed up and obviously the damage had been getting worse, causing the heart attack. As they say prevention is better than cure, but if these things are never followed up then it is difficult to assess.

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Responses

Response from Laura Jack, Patient Affairs Manager, Primary Care Division, NHS Lanarkshire

picture of Laura Jack

Dear Holiday nightmare,

I was sorry to read about your husband’s ill health whilst on holiday and I’m glad to hear he’s now on the mend.

Trying to sort this out from abroad must have been very stressful and I can understand your frustration and upset. Whilst this might not be a routine occurance for GP Practices to deal with, it would seem that the communication in your case could have been a lot better. It may be that this practice hadn’t dealt with this before, nonetheless, this is perhaps something that all GP Practices could learn from in an effort to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

General Practitioners are Independent Contractors who are responsible for investigating and responding to any concerns or complaints a patient or patient’s relatives may raise about their services. I would be more than happy to assist you with raising concerns with your Practice.

I’m sorry to hear that you wish to move Practice, I’d be happy to advise you how to do this.

You can contact me directly on 01698 858 292.

Thanks

Laura Bryan

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Response from Laura Jack, Patient Affairs Manager, Primary Care Division, NHS Lanarkshire

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Dear Holiday Nightmare,

Thanks for contacting me earlier this week and I'm glad I was able to assist you with your concerns regarding your GP Practice.

I will be in touch as arranged.

Kind Regards

Laura

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Response from Laura Jack, Patient Affairs Manager, Primary Care Division, NHS Lanarkshire We have made a change

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Dear Holiday Nightmare,

It was good to meet you and your husband and I 'm glad I was able to help you provide feedback about your experience to your GP Practice.

As a result of your feedback the Practice have reviewed their administration process when releasing patient information to insurance companies. Your case has highlighted the need for a quick response over the telephone rather than relying on slower, paper based systems. In future when they are contacted they will telephone the insurance company and the patient to discuss the request for medical information further.

I hope you would agree that this is an improvement on the current process which resulted in a delay in your case, causing additional stress during a really difficult time for your and your family.

I hope your husband has continued to make a good recovery.

Kind regards

Laura

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