"The faulty and therefore stressful radiotherapy machine"

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital / Clinical oncology

(as the patient),

I have had breast cancer, which has been treated by a mastectomy, followed first by chemotherapy, then herceptin injections (that continue) and, at present, by radiotherapy. I have been consistently impressed with the expertise of nurses, doctors and all other practitioners.

This has been the case with the radiotherapy treatment; the radiologists have been very supportive, kind, friendly and helpful. But what has been distressing to me is that the radiotherapy machine has broken down twice in the first 8 days of radiotherapy, which I have found very distressing. I want to get this treatment done and over with; I find it very tiring and I want to return to the full energy I had two months after finishing chemotherapy, which I know will return. But I have become very depressed as a consequence of the machine breaking down twice so far.

I have no confidence that it won't break down again and now all I want is to finish the treatment. The radiographers have kindly offered to have myself and other patients receive an additional treatment tomorrow, Saturday, so that we can catch up a bit. But why is this machine not being replaced when it should be? When will the machine be replaced?

I am thinking not just about myself, but about all those in future who want to return to health and find that the machine keeps breaking down and dragging out this process.

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Response from Patient Relations & Experience Manager, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback about the Radiotherapy Service at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. We welcome all feedback and would like to assure you that all comments are taken seriously and acted upon as part of our ongoing commitment to improving patient experience.

We are pleased to hear that some aspects of your care and treatment have been so positive.

However, we are very sorry that you have had such a poor experience in relation to the radiotherapy machine breaking down on more than one occasion. We appreciate this will be particularly distressing at what must already be a very difficult time for you. We are aware that there have been some problems with this particular machine and are working to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

The Radiotherapy Manager is very keen to make direct contact with you so that he can discuss your concerns in more detail and he can reassure you about the actions that are being taken to rectify the situation. If you would like to do this please make contact directly via the contact details below:

Stephen Jackson

Telephone: 0121 371 5082

Email: stephen.jackson@uhb.nhs.uk

If you do not feel comfortable making contact with Stephen directly please contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) who will be happy to make contact with Stephen on your behalf.

PALS can be contacted by phone 0121 371 3280, by email PALS@uhb.nhs.uk, via the hospital website http://www.uhb.nhs.uk/pals-form.htm or in person by dropping in between 9am – 5pm (Mon-Fri) to the PALS office located near the Information Desk in the main entrance of the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.