"Delaying pain relief"

About: Corbett Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics Russells Hall Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

Earlier this year I was told I was being fast tracked for a epidural for an ongoing neck problem which has become worse over the last few months. I was asked to immediately attend a pre op assessment in July and thought that relief was on its way. How wrong was I!

I received a letter a month ago stating I had a appointment at the end of September. In the meantime my pain to neck has increased so much so I am unable to turn my head to the left or look up with a tremor to my hand.

My wife spoke to a doctors secretary to confirm whether this appointment was for my epidural or just an appointment. It was indeed to see the doctor. I was so disappointed with the news as I was expecting some positive active not just ongoing consultations. I had been referred by the orthopedic assessment team at brierley hill where the physio seemed without hesitation the precise route to go.

However after contacting a secretary, it was the doctors decision to see me on this date as it was felt it was an inappropriate referral thus delaying pain relief.

My frustration increased when the secretary also stated that because of school holidays they were short. My pain does not reduce for the school holiday! There seemed no understanding or empathy from the secretarial team who in future calls I have made to has failed to even return calls after leaving several voicemails The message on phone stating only works so many days a week.... Doesn't someone else fill in on the other days. I thought these jobs would be job shared.

As for the elusive doctor, I have asked on several occasions just to contact me, just 5 mins that's all as to find out the reasoning Behind the delay my pain relief. I have spoken to both the hospital manager and pals regarding this situation who state that they have asked the doctor to contact but apparently the doctor is too busy.

I have so far found the doctors behaviour arrogant and insensitive. I was informed by the hospital manager that extra clinics were going to be put on after reviewing my situation and that I was supposedly at the top of this list. A month a, and nothing heard.

I don't even believe they had a slightest notion to these extra clinics. It's purely to pacify the manager and myself.

We criticise the nhs, but it is individuals like this doctor who seems to think of themselves as god and one of the admin team that are undoing good work the nhs offer. It feels to me that their arrogance and lack of empathy just so they can get away with doing as little as they can and take the money. Their behaviour has been incredibly dishonest. It has incensed me and made a situation that was already bad, worse to handle. I feels it is almost as if they do it on purpose so that you become so irate you become irrational and then portray yourself as the bad person.

I feel the behaviour of the staff in this instance disappointing and offensive and that they are a discredit to the nhs

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Update posted by Silverdale (the patient)

I have just got back from my revised appointment at pain relief. What a sham the whole experience was from start to finish.

My letter states general outpatients ground floor at 10:30am. I arrived at opd early. They were busy it seemed with lots of patients waiting for blood tests. I waited at what seemed to be a queue at reception but no one on reception. After waiting ten minutes I asked another patient if there was someone on reception. They replied no as it was only blood tests on a Saturday. I left the department and found a member of staff who then redirected me to the correct department.

On my arrival at this department after again waiting initially. The nurse called to weigh me and do my bp. I was greeted by the nurse initially by an opening statement: " I was about to DNA you". I replied to that statement "what" as confused by her statement. She explained I was late as my appointment was 0930. I showed her my letter as it confirmed 1030 and not her 0930. She seemed very abrupt and so I explained also the fact I had waited unnecessarily in the wrong area and no mention on my letter as to the precise location of my appointment.

After waiting briefly after this I was called into a room, thinking this was my appointment with the doctor. How disappointed was I. It was unbelievably inept.

It turned out I was seeing a psychotherapist first for my pain. I was outraged, a psychotherapist. My pain is real. It's not in my head, it was real to me, I am not imagining the pain, I thought, so why am I seeing a psychotherapist? I was angry as I felt that someone already has made their mind up that this patient was not genuine. My anger increased when the psychotherapist confusingly looked at me as I questioned why I was seeing her. It then turned out they had got the wrong notes and had got me mixed up with another patient. She thought I was a Mr Ali and they assumed I was Mr Ali because of my colour, never checking my address with notes. Poor old Mr Ali is probably in the general outpatients waiting to be called.

Irate at the behaviour and standard of care so far received, I asked for the hospital manager to be contacted. I was assured that this would be done. The doctor assured me that this would be done and immediately tried to smooth and pacify myself.

My consultation with the doctor was as disappointing as the rest of the ordeal. I asked again for the hospital manager as I felt so disappointed with my treatment and again was assured this was done. I just want some pain relief. My pain may not be as severe as some but it's a constant pain reducing my quality of life.

I feel I am entitled to a certain quality of care but feel that service provided was rude, arrogant on the doctor’s part and almost racist on the nurses part. Unhappy with the doctors consultation, I asked again for the hospital manager. A third time of asking! It turned out the doctor had not even asked for the hospital manager as I can only assume he thought he could pacify me.

He offered me further meds. I don't want meds if I can help it, and I especially don't want psychotherapy from a young person who has no experience of pain herself. I don't want to be told manage your pain by breathing deeply or think of something nice... Mind over matter! I want definitive care, I especially don't want a doctor telling me to fill up on a cocktail of medications.

The level of care has been unbelievably appalling.

Response from Jackie Dietrich, Communications Manager, Communications and Patient Experience, The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your feedback, we would like to reassure you that all comments are taken seriously and acted upon as part of our ongoing commitment to improving patient experience.

All referrals received by the Pain Specialty are first assessed by the pain management consultant who will make a clinical decision as to what treatment is required and whether the patient needs to be seen in clinic first. Because of the potential risks involved with any procedure involving the neck, it is usual practise for the consultant to request a clinic appointment before booking a patient in for surgery. We do, however, appreciate how unpleasant it must have been for you to be in pain for such a prolonged length of time and can only apologise for your discomfort.

We would expect our staff to be courteous and compassionate towards our patients at all times and so we are concerned by your experience of our medical and secretarial staff. There is never an excuse for rude or arrogant behaviour and we will ensure the relevant senior staff are made aware of your remarks.

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Response from Jackie Dietrich, Communications Manager, Communications and Patient Experience, The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust

We are very sorry to hear that you are still disappointed with the service you have received and that you are unhappy with the treatment choices we have offered you.

We can only apologise if your letter did not direct you to the correct department and that this meant you waited in the wrong area before your appointment. We are in the process of reviewing patient letters to ensure they give accurate information.

We are, again, concerned by your comments about the attitude of our staff and will certainly be raising this with the department’s manager.

As you are still unhappy with your care, we would encourage you to get back in touch with our PALS team so they can try resolve your concerns for you.

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Response from NHS Dudley CCG

Thank you for taking the time to feedback on this service. As clinical commissioning lead for this area, I have been working with the hospital to shape the way that this service works in the future. Your feedback is very valuable and will help us to ensure that the hospital will deliver the level of service we expect for our patients.

I hope that the service will take action on the points you raise to improve things moving forward.

With best wishes

Dr R Johnson


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Update posted by Silverdale (the patient)

Thank you very much Dr Johnson,

I feel more reassured. from your reply then previously as I feel properly acknowledged instead of the previous replies which have seemed a box standard reply and seemed to skirt round my issues with the service received. I am grateful that you took time to read through my complaint

Many thanks