"Experience as a private patient"

About: Lister Hospital

I initially saw a consultant at Lister, who after some tests that delayed things several months told me I needed an operation. He did not perform that procedure and so he referred me to a colleague, and this involved a wait of two months just to see the new man! Then there would have been a further wait of 3 or 4 months for the operation. As I suffered pain and discomfort I arranged to see the new man privately at Pinehill. He confirmed the findings of the first consultant and said he would put me on the waiting list for the procedure at Lister, or if I wished to have it done privately it would be approximately £2000 ( a gross underestimate even excluding his and the anaesthetists fees) and I could have the operation in a few weeks. However, due to my age (84), he would do it at the Lister, which did not have private facilities. Both at the pre=op, and on the day of the procedure I was the only private patient, and so clearly in order to push me in earlier than would otherwise be the case, another NHS patient was further delayed, and this seems morally wrong, and unethical. Now we come to my actual experience as a private patient on an NHS ward. It didn't get off to a good start. i did not leave recovery until the night staff were on duty. I was wheeled into the bed space and left alone. I felt sick, I was in pain, my head was too low, my mouth was dry, the water was out of reach, the push button to call staff was out of reach at the bottom of the bed, as was the control to raise my head. It was about three quarters of an hour before a nurse came in to my side ward. I don't think I would have been left like that in a private hospital! Apart from that my only grumble was the food. I was on a soft diet, but really was one scoop of reconstituted potato, and a thin unsweetened tapioca pudding the best Lister could do? I couldn't wait to get home and make myself some nourishing soup. to summarize, the only benefit of the £5000 plus cost was that I was pushed in before some other unfortunate patient. If you are going to treat patients privately, you should have a private wing! Michael Jimack

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Response from Lister Hospital

Thank you for your feedback, which we will make sure gets fed back to the team that looks after the few patients that we have that are looked after on a private basis because they do not wish to be looked after on the NHS. It is a very difficult balance to get right and clearly on this occasion, you felt that we got it wrong - we're sorry that this is the case, but we do hope that you continue to make a good recovery.

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