"Spinal services"

About: Skegness & District General Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I have read the complaint by Welshman and your replies in 2012 but it seems despite you saying you like to hear from patients with problems and that you work to fix these problems it seems that you are not doing this.

I have had a collapsing spine for several years and the NHS did nothing and it finally collapsed 9 months ago. The NHS response was to send me to a consultant who sent me for a very painful MRI scan and then refer me to a surgeon. The problems are that living on the Lincolnshire coast with not very good public transport services means that it is impossible to get to see the surgeon the other side of the county unless I stay away from home for a night due to no late running buses. The surgeon used to come to Skegness but due to your so called improvements in services this was cancelled. You refuse to supply hospital transport so please tell me how is this improving the service for patients on the coast?

I know that there are a lot more patients with the same problem here on the coast and it seems to me that if this is improving the services for patients it is only doing it for the patients to the west of the county at the expense of the patients to the east who you are effectively not treating at all through stealth. After the Welshman reported a similar problem in 2011 you have still not rectified the problem only made it worse and by saying you will restore the service in a few years time is rubbish.

As it is impossible for me to lie flat due to the pain I can not have my CT scans for possible cancer of the kidneys and so people could well be dying and are certainly not able to work due to your refusal to supply hospital treatment and consultations locally as per your contract with the patients that have paid into the system.

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Response from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Dear AndyFG

I am so sorry for your experience and can fully appreciate your frustrations and dissatisfaction.

However – whilst not trying to be defensive or ‘passing the buck’ – the decisions about where spinal services are provided does not sit with United Lincolnshire Hospitals as a trust. Services across all specialties are commissioned by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s) – it is these bodies who decide what services are needed within their population and they then contract with different Trusts or providers to deliver them – and they also decide where these services are to be provided; such as with an outreach clinic such as a surgeon at Skegness.

It is never an easy decision and it is never a simple one – there are many complexities that have to be considered including factors such as skills and recruitment, cost and also issues about travel and access. The spinal care pathway across the county is clearly a difficult one.

The CCG’s also contract the patient transport across the county and there are specific eligibility criteria; you can appeal if you feel you have not had a fair assessment and I would suggest the first discussion should be with your GP who can help you here as he/she will know you. If you need your appointment to be changed to a different time then please contact the surgeons secretary (on your letter - or our PALS service who can help to sort this for you.

I am really sorry – I suspect that this reply will not necessarily directly answer your concerns but I hope it goes a little way to explain. Speak to your GP who may be able to help with logistics or with our PALS who could help with changing an appointment time.


Jennie Negus

Deputy Director of Nursing