"Wonderful unit but very poor communication"
My mother was daignosed with Aortic Stenosois in Februray 2014. She lives in Norfolk but decided to be referred to The Essex Cardiothoracic Unit rather than Papworth as she originally came from Essex. On June 12th 2014, I drove my mother from Norfolk to the CTU in Basildon which was a 200+ mile round journey that took us over a total of 5 hours. The clinical staff were wonderful and hygiene standards were outstanding.She was almost looking forward to her admission! Unfortunately, as my mother's local hospital had failed to carry a vital scan we were advised by her consultant that he could not proceed until this had been completed.He then told my mother and I he would contact us once he had reveiwed the scan results. The scan was performed quite quickly after her appointment at Basildon and the results sent to the Essex Cardiothoracic Unit. Despite several calls to the consultant's secretary by various family members and my mother's GP nobody got back to my mother until 8 weeks after her appointment at the unit and 6 weeks after the scan. We eventually got a call from the consultant's secretary who sounded rather irritated with us whilst at the same time informing my mother that her GP had been sent a letter saying that she had now been refererred to a London hospital. We can only presume this to be for a TAVI which we have subsequently discovered that the Essex Cardiothoracic Unit cannot perform due to funding. The main issues here are that there has been absolutley no communication from the consultant and his clerical support staff. My mother was never told by the consultant that TAVIs are not performed at the unit and or the possibility of referring her to a London hospital which will be a 6 hour round trip. Despite my mother's GP being advised of her referral, she has never received a letter from her consultant at the unit. Her choices seemed to have been removed from her whilst at the same time her condition is rapidly detoriating. Please Essex Cardiothoracic Unit communiacte with your patients and their families. All these people have been referred to you because they are ill and vulnerable. Failure to communicate makes their condition worse. The patient must come first!