"Good care when I finally got there"

About: Dorset County Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I had been under the care of Neurology at DCH for a considerable length of time, undergone all the appropriate tests in respect to my difficulties and after much consideration a decision was made that I undergo the relevant surgery for my difficulties.

In mid-2008 at my appointment with neurology, I agreed to my being referred to orthopaedics in order for the surgery to take place. I was then sent an appointment in which to be seen by the Dorset Orthopaedic Treatment Service (DOTS) for late October 2008.

I telephoned the relevant department querying as to why I was being referred to such department when all the relevant tests had been conducted and that in agreement with my neurology specialist I be referred for surgery. I was then provided with an earlier appointment to the same treatment service.

During my telephone conversation with the above department I questioned as to why I was being referred to them and as to whether this was another way of this department making it look as if patients referred were being seen within the scheduled waiting time.

I then contacted your department in which to question the above and to perhaps intervene. Since this I have received telephone calls informing me that after going through my records, seeing that all the relevant tests and diagnosis have been carried out and made then I need not attend the outpatient’s appointment with DOTS.

I was then provided a list of hospitals that could undertake the surgery as required, these being Shaftsbury, Yeovil or Bournemouth and I opted for Yeovil due to easier access for myself and family member transporting me to and from.

From this I was then informed that I would have to be referred (again) but that the waiting times for such referrals were not known, so again it would seem that I am going back to stage one.

My family GP telephoned me at home informing me that he has received a letter from a neurology informing him that he is unable to make referrals to orthopaedics under the trust’s policies that I now need to be referred to orthopaedics through my GP.

There clearly needs to be some questions answered here!

1: Why are patients like me being referred to DOTS when all relevant tests have been undertaken and diagnosis made?

2: Why there is such a waiting list for orthopaedics and why are persons like me having to go elsewhere for such treatments/surgery?

3: If I had refused for surgery to be carried out elsewhere and only to be carried out at Dorchester, then how long would I have to be prepared to wait for such?

4: When a hospital consultant refers a patient for surgery, why is this referral not being accepted and why should I be referred back to my GP?

5: I have tried to access a copy of the Trust’s policy that refers to patient referrals but my request being ignored.

In respect to point 1, this to me is a complete waste of resources and more of a process that makes the relevant department looks as if it is then meeting the waiting list time limits and serves no purpose for patients like me.

In respect to point 4, again this is a complete waste of my GP’s time and resources and why should he/she have to take on that responsibility when the Trust will not accept a referral from the referring department from within its very own Trust.

From my experience, it clearly demonstrates that Patient Care does not seem to be a priority here in Dorset from senior management developing the policies relating to the referral process.

A year later from original referral I finally underwent the surgery two weeks ago and have to admit that the surgical and ward staff were super, caring and respectful, just a shame senior management does not seem to provide the same service.

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