"Feeling Lost"

About: Crosshouse Hospital / Trauma & orthopaedics

(as a relative),

In mid June my husband developed a sore back which he tried to self –manage but by mid July he was much worse and made an appointment with his own doctor. He prescribed him anti-inflammatory tablets and pain killers. His symptoms got worse and the pain he was suffering was excruciating and after several phone appointments with his doctors he was advised to stay off work and rest. Blood tests were taken from him and we then got a phone call from our doctor to say that he was being admitted to Crosshouse Hospital that day for an urgent MRI Scan.

A MRI Scan was done which showed that he had two prolapsed discs in his spine. He was sent home on at the beginning of August 2015 and told that he would be given an appointment in 2 weeks to see the same consultant surgeon at his clinic.

2 weeks later he attended the clinic at Crosshouse. The consultant was of the opinion that as my husband has suffered this back pain since June with no sign of relief and due to the fact that he was on a very high dose of pain killers that he should be referred to see back specialist at Southern General Hospital, Glasgow with a view to having an operation which cannot be carried out at Crosshouse. At this point he told him that we would still have to see go to Head Physio before this could happen.

At the beginning of September 2015 he saw Head Physio at Crosshouse. He then told my husband that there would be a 12 week waiting time for referral and that there was no guarantee that the Southern General Hospital would agree to see him. He also recommended that my husband receive some physio but again this is a 6 week waiting time. My husband had already been recommended by his own doctor for this and he attended one session of this but when the Physio was made aware that the Consultant had recommended that he be referred to Southern General he was discharged from any more physio.

My husband is self employed and also works part time for NHS. Both these jobs involve driving. He has gone from a very active person who works extremely hard to someone who has no quality of life now. He cannot drive due to the physical discomfort and high medication, cannot walk very far without pain and is practically housebound. All he wants is to be able to get well and back to work as soon as possible but the way things are this isn’t going to happen for a very long time.

I know he is not the only one waiting on further treatment but this waiting time is most unacceptable and we feel that we have been abandoned by NHS to just sit it out and wait and see. At no time has it been explained to us what will happen if the Southern General will not take his referral. The only one who is helping us at the moment is our family doctor but his hands are very much tied as to what happens next.

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Responses

Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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Dear Arran,

This sounds an absolute nightmare for you. I am really sorry that this has been such an extrapolated process and I am sure we can learn much from this experience to try to stop it happening again.

Can I please encourage you to contact the senior manager responsible for Neurology and she can coordinate things as well as have a chat with you about it. It would be good to know more details and see what we can do. if you would like to call, she can be contacted on - 01563 - 826385. I believe she will be back at her desk from tomorrow.

I hope it gets all sorted as soon as possible.

Best wishes,

Eunice
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Response from Craig White, Divisional Clinical Lead, Directorate of Health Quality and Strategy, Scottish Government

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Dear Arran and Eunice

Given that this gentleman works within the NHS, I wonder if consideration had been given to referral to some of the physiotherapy services that are occasionally offered through Occupational Health services within NHSScotland? It may be that this would address his pain and also his desire to return to work?

I hope this helps,

Craig

Professor Craig White

Divisional Clinical Lead, Healthcare Quality and Strategy Directorate

The Scottish Government

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Update posted by Arran (a relative)

Many thanks to both Eunice and Professor Craig White for their responses. I followed the advice given by Eunice and contacted the person she suggested.

She told me that it wasn't her who dealt with our situation and passed me to another AGM who phoned me regarding my husband. She then spoke to my husband and agreed to look into our situation. She phoned me and confirmed that a referral has been made to Southern General Hospital regarding my husband's condition and that she had also spoken to Physio Department to arrange for my husband to receive physio again.

We would receive a letter that week giving us a date. We received this letter recently offering my husband an appointment the following week. My husband then received a telephone call informing him that this appointment has been cancelled and a new appointment had been made for the following week. A wait of five weeks!!!

My husband's condition has not improved at all - we are still feeling very much abandoned and lost. All we get told is "that there are pathways" which must be followed. Surely every referral case is different and no-one seems to be looking at the "bigger picture" and the impact this is having on our lives.

Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

picture of Eunice Goodwin

Dear Arran,

I am sorry you feel abandoned.

One thing I have had learned in this role is that everyone has a story to tell. The bigger picture is so important and relevant to people's health and speedy recovery. I believe your husband has now got back to Physiotherapy although you are still unsure why he was discharged in the first place. I do hope it helps him.

I understand why you are unhappy with the step by step delays that seem to have been 'introduced' along the way and I am also aware that I have not been able to help with it either. What I can do is ensure that awareness is raised about the lack of coordination and delays and the that you feel have been the case.

If there is anything else you would like to raise or if there is anything you think of that would have helped you and your husband at this time, please do contact me on 01563 826222 or Eunice.goodwin@aapct.scot.nhs.uk.

I sincerely hope your husband gets seen in Glasgow and gets back to work as soon as possible.

Best wishes,

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