"Pen pushing at its' worst"

About: Christchurch Hospital / Rheumatology

(as the patient),

Before I tell you this story let me inform you until two years ago my care from my gp and doctors were excellent. With deep regret I have to say the two severe traumatic experiences that have devastated my life and a minor incident by comparison has negated the goodwill I have felt.

At 61 years I have suffered scoliosis all my life but with good posture and the right exercise I have lived my life to the full. However in the last few years I have suffered abdominal and lower back pain. After ruling out any abdominal problems I was referred to a consultant rheumatologist at Christchurch outpatients in Bournemouth.

As soon as I had met this consultant I had a bad feeling. They asked me to lay on the couch raise both my legs straight about 2-3 feet up, then slowly lower my legs keeping them straight. I was totally unassisted, I felt my back arching and burning and screamed "my back my back" the consultant seemingly shouted at me in what I found to be a very aggressive way to hold my position. I then again screamed "my back my back." My back then went into spasm I was shaking and thought I was having some sort of fit.

This is called a double leg lift which I have recently found out it is not recommended for even the young and fit and very dangerous for people with scoliosis and lower back problems. The consultant was 4 feet to my right shoulder and the nurse was behind me. At no time did the consultant come to my aid to check for any damage.

I just wanted to get out of that surgery as I was in shock. I complained to my GP about this incident and cancelled all appointments with this rheumatologist.

However I needed to be referred to another specialist because, not only did I have the original problem, I was also suffering from the additional pain caused by this person.

I went one more time just to close my treatment with this rheumatologist.

When I arrived they looked embarrassed and red faced, demanding to know why I had cancelled all my appointments. I replied there were many reasons why I had cancelled. I then told them my problems had resolved just to get them off my back. However just before leaving I asked them if they realised they'd damaged my back the last time I was there which they seemed to acknowledge.

I wrote to PALs but was expecting the usual excuses and got them. I contacted the GMC. They looked into my complaint, then replied according to our consultant the double leg lift was an appropriate exercise. I could not believe this so asked under FOI what qualifications had this consultant to make such a decision on the use of the double leg lift.

In my particular case, two weeks later I received a reply on why they should not release this info but I could appeal which I have. I was also informed if this appeal failed I could appeal again. This is pen pushing at its' worst.

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Responses

Response from Sue Mellor, Patient Experience Lead, Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Southbank

I received your posting today following your experiences in the Rheumatology department. I am sorry to note that you have had a poor experience in the clinic and I have already spoken to PALs who you mentioned you had been in contact with. Please know that we have taken your feedback very seriously and as part of my immediate investigation I also noted you mentioned that you had already raised a complaint and received a response. It is sad to hear that you were unhappy with the result of your PALs response and that of the GMC. As I do not have that depth of clinical knowledge I am unable to comment, but understand from you that you are pursuing the appeals process.

Sadly I think I have also responded to a previous complaint from you, so it is even more disappointing to note that we have still not got things right for you. Because of this, I have spoken with our Clinical Director and we want to make every effort to ensure we do the right thing for every patient every time. We do not want to be seen as “pen pushing”, especially as our staff are dedicated and committed to doing the best for all of our patients. I appreciate it can be hard when you do not receive the response you may have hoped for and really hope you are now feeling much better.

Noting that you have cancelled all your future appointments, we do not want your care to be affected because of this event. Please do contact your GP, who may possibly be able to refer you to another Trust for your continued care, if you still do not want to come back to us. However, please know that you are welcome in the event you do return.

Please contact us again if we can be of any further assistance either by calling PALs on 01202 704886 or emailing them PALS@rbch.nhs.uk.

Kind regards

Sue

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Response from Christchurch Hospital

Response copied from original feedback from Patient Opinion in October 2014 Dear Southbank I received your posting today following your experiences in the Rheumatology department. I am sorry to note that you have had a poor experience in the clinic and I have already spoken to PALs who you mentioned you had been in contact with. Please know that we have taken your feedback very seriously and as part of my immediate investigation I also noted you mentioned that you had already raised a complaint and received a response. It is sad to hear that you were unhappy with the result of your PALs response and that of the GMC. As I do not have that depth of clinical knowledge I am unable to comment, but understand from you that you are pursuing the appeals process. Sadly I think I have also responded to a previous complaint from you, so it is even more disappointing to note that we have still not got things right for you. Because of this, I have spoken with our Clinical Director and we want to make every effort to ensure we do the right thing for every patient every time. We do not want to be seen as “pen pushing”, especially as our staff are dedicated and committed to doing the best for all of our patients. I appreciate it can be hard when you do not receive the response you may have hoped for and really hope you are now feeling much better. Noting that you have cancelled all your future appointments, we do not want your care to be affected because of this event. Please do contact your GP, who may possibly be able to refer you to another Trust for your continued care, if you still do not want to come back to us. However, please know that you are welcome in the event you do return. Please contact us again if we can be of any further assistance either by calling PALs on 01202 704886 or emailing them PALS@rbch.nhs.uk. Kind regards Sue

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