"My wait to get away for the weekend"

About: Hairmyres Hospital / Ophthalmology

(as the patient),

Dear Sir / Madam,

I had an eye operation in Hairmyres DGH, the operation was to lift the eyelid. The operation went well albeit the Doctor did not have the right trolley to use as one was broken so the Doctor used another that did not have foot controls to move me up and down. I had therefore had to be moved manually to get in the correct position. In addition he did not have a seat and had to stand to carry out the operation.

I also noted that the nurse had to wheel me to the theatre on a trolley, rather than me walking or going on a wheelchair. The nursing staff I spoke to on the day highlighted the problems this practice has caused as 3 members of staff had been off work with back / shoulder injuries as a result of pushing beds / trolleys. I would have presumed this trend would have been highlighted and the nursing staff would have a more user friendly system. I’m aware that once eye operations have been carried out walking back from theatre would increase the risk of an accident but surely en-route we could have a better practice in place to cut down on the injuries to the nursing staff e. g. wheelchairs rather than trolleys / beds.

I was asked to return in 7 days to get my stitches removed, I explained this was not possible due previous commitments I had but the Doctor had kindly arranged for an appointment at a time that would have allowed me to make my next appointment (weekend away). I turned up in plenty of time. I was seen by a nurse promptly who gave me an eye test. I then sat back down waiting on the Doctor. I sat until an hour later before approaching the nursing staff after hearing the Doctor had just arrived. I explained my frustration as I had the appointment for a time 45 minutes earlier and had planned to go away for a booked weekend; I explained it was the doctor who had asked me to attend at this time and so why did the Doctor arrive 45 minutes later and why was I left without any update? This even this early on impacted on the waiting time for patients as a number in the waiting area had gone beyond their slot.

After my appointment with the Doctor I was given a slip to put on a new appointment, I went to the front desk at appointments and handed over the slip. The slip was taken, looked at then I was told I would receive an appointment via the post. Why, if I had been standing with the appointment card in my hand why was it just not filled in there and then. This would surely save time and money, how often is this happening across the NHS and how much money is wasted on stamps?


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Response from Susan Friel, Chief of Nursing Services, Hairmyres Hospital, NHS Lanarkshire

picture of Susan Friel

Dear Daily Record

Thank you for your comments above. I'm really pleased that things went well for you, with regards to your procedure, and I hope you continue to make a good recovery.

With regards to the observations you made; I'll do my best to address these, however my replies are generalised as I do not have the detail required to look into your particular case. if you would wish me to do so, please get in touch directly. My number is 01355 584475:

The trolley - We are at present trialing new trolleys to replace the broken one. We are really keen to make the right choice so that we have the best trolley in the longer term. I apologise that this caused you some inconvenience.

Surgeon not having a seat - There are 4 dedicated seats available to the ophthalmologists, between 2 theatres, and there is absolutely no reason for them to stand unless this is a personal choice (some doctors prefer to stand while operating).

Transfer to theatre on a trolley - The majority of our patients who require ophthalmology surgery are elderly, and by the nature of the surgery required, visually impaired. Some also have mobility issues. As the theatres are along a (usually) very busy corridor it is current practice to use theatre trolleys as a means of safe transport. However it is certainly our ambition to review this process for suitable patients in the very near future, with a view to either walking patients to theatre or utilising a wheelchair to do this.

Length of time waiting for the doctor - I'm sorry you had to wait to see the doctor. Again, I am unable to comment on this day in particular; however there can be a number of reasons why a doctor can be delayed; for example, they are carrying out a clinic within other NHS Lanarkshire hospitals, they can then be delayed returning, or they can be caught up with a patient in the ward, or an emergency situation. You may be interested to know, we are reviewing our signage, and intend in the near future to include signs to the effect of: 'if you have been waiting for more than 30 minutes over your appointment time, please come to reception'.

Your next appointment - the receptionists who take the completed slips are not able to book appointments. This is done by the ophthalmology secretaries to ensure that appointments are made only when the doctor is available and patient records have been fully updated following the clinic, to ensure the right patient attends at the right time to see the right doctor. I appreciate this can seem inefficient to a patient; however the ophthalmology clinics are very busy, and this has been shown to be a safer and more efficient method of scheduling.

I hope above answers the points you have raised, and I hope you continue to recover well.

Kind Regards


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