"I have been put to the back of the waiting list"

About: Derriford Hospital

(as the patient),

My GP requested a CT scan for me several weeks ago (September/October). I eventually received an appointment in the post this weekend (November) for a date in the middle of November that unfortunately I cannot attend. I therefore phoned Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHNT) to rearrange this appointment. When I phoned I was shocked to discover that PHNT policy does not seem to allow appointments for CT scans to be rearranged to the next future date/time when the patient can actually attend. It is my understanding that PHNT policy dictates that patients who phone to cancel an appointment are instead returned to the very back of the waiting list to start waiting all over again! In my case I will therefore now have to wait until the end of December/January before I will be given another appointment for this CT scan. If I cannot make that appointment either, then presumably the same thing will happen all over again (if I am still alive! ).

In my particular case it is likely to now be some 3 months between my GP requesting a CT scan and the scan eventually being undertaken - but presumably the official waiting list record will now only show my length of wait since I was returned to the back of the queue earlier today.

The experience has left me feeling like PHNT puts achievement of its waiting list targets before what is in the best interest of its patients. There seems no comprehension whatsoever at PHNT that patients who cannot attend a unilaterally made appointment that arrives in the post, may have co-morbidities and necessary appointments at other hospitals outside the area, or indeed have other perfectly valid reasons for non attendance. Patients should not be penalised for this.

I think it should be possible for patients who cannot make an appointment for a CT scan to phone up PHNT and to be offered the next available slot that they can attend, not be put to the very back of the queue to start waiting all over again, for another eight to twelve weeks. I think this appalling practice needs to be changed immediately!

In the meanwhile, I will use "Patient Choice" and ask my GP to refer me to an alternative hospital. After this experience, I can have no confidence whatsoever in the quality of care that I would receive at PHNT.

The member of staff who took my call was very polite and understanding, and I have no personal complaint against them - they simply have to carry out the management policies of this wholly dysfunctional organisation.

It is hardly surprising PHNT has such long waits for CT Scans when it still only offers appointments at certain times Monday - Friday. I think it is not acceptable to all the patients waiting for their CT scans to be told that they will be moving to a 7 day service in 2015. This change of practice needs to happen with immediate effect!

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Responses

Response from Genny Turner, Senior Quality Facilitator, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Thank you for your feedback on Patient Opinion.

I have forwarded your concerns to the Imaging Directorate and I will respond to your posting once I have received their comments.

Best wishes

Genny

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Response from Genny Turner, Senior Quality Facilitator, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

I have been contacted by the Imaging Support Manager, Mr Mark Walker who has asked if you would be kind enough to contact him directly on 01752 439225, so he can address your concerns with you.

Best wishes

Genny

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