"In a previous review I had misunderstood the..."

About: Derriford Hospital

In a previous review I had misunderstood the reason for the cancellation of all routine procedures at the 11th hour. ie. when I was sitting with my bags packed waiting for transport into Derriford. I now find that the cancellation of all routine procedures was due to the fact that there were no beds available for the aftercare as they had been taken by emergency admissions. This would indicate that very valuable machinery and surgeon's skills are not being used to the optimum. How David Cameron can keep spouting that the health service is not in crisis beats me. Barbara Osborne

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Responses

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

Dear Mrs Osborne

Thank you for telling us about the recent late cancellation of your elective surgery. I appreciate that being cancelled on the day of surgery and having to be rebooked was very disappointing and frustrating. It is often difficult for patients to understand why this has happened.

In order to plan for the needs of all patients across the South West the capacity of the hospital, ie unoccupied beds and staff to support those beds is monitored on a day to day, minute to minute basis. For the majority of patients this works well and we manage to keep to agreed arrangements. The difficulty is in not knowing how many patients will be arriving in our emergency department each day, or which of our existing patients on wards will suddenly need emergency surgery - in some cases, ongoing planned surgeries can take much longer than usual due to complications. Some planned surgery will be cancelled at short notice when such emergencies occur and the hospital is temporarily at capacity.

Our consultants do continue with other clinical activity if called away from their planned schedule for the day; there is always more than enough for them to do. Your surgeon may actually have been the surgeon having to carry out an emergency operation in theatre or one being called on to assist colleagues in another setting. The majority of our staff are fully occupied either in theatres, clinics or on the wards each day and rarely have free time.

I can only apologise for the distress the rebooking of your surgery has caused and hope that you will soon be given a new surgical date.

If you would like any further assistance please call our PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) Team on 01752 439884 or email plh-tr.PALS@nhs.net

Best wishes

Genny

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Response from Derriford Hospital

Thank you for telling us about the recent late cancellation of your elective surgery. I appreciate that being cancelled on the day of surgery and having to be rebooked was very disappointing and frustrating. It is often difficult for patients to understand why this has happened. In order to plan for the needs of all patients across the South West the capacity of the hospital, ie unoccupied beds and staff to support those beds is monitored on a day to day, minute to minute basis. For the majority of patients this works well and we manage to keep to agreed arrangements. The difficulty is in not knowing how many patients will be arriving in our emergency department each day, or which of our existing patients on wards will suddenly need emergency surgery - in some cases, ongoing planned surgeries can take much longer than usual due to complications. Some planned surgery will be cancelled at short notice when such emergencies occur and the hospital is temporarily at capacity. I can only apologise for the distress the rebooking of your surgery has caused and hope that you will soon be given a new surgical date. If you would like any further assistance please call our PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) Team on 01752 439884 or email plh-tr.PALS@nhs.net Best wishes Genny

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