"Inability to contact relevant personnel"

About: The Royal London Hospital

Summary: i) Excessive difficulty making contact with RLH neurosurgical team by Royal Free A&E resulted in unnecessarily and costly extended time (30 hrs) in RFH A&E and raised patient anxiety ii) continued excessive difficulty contacting RLH to ensure follow-up appointment resulted in high patient anxiety about rehabilit5ation, being left in limbo and uncertainly about continued and appropriate use of brace and lack of specialist advice about rehabilitation

This is a disgraceful and potentially dangerous lack of service from a designated specialist neurosurgical centre for London.

An audit of the administrative arrangements for receiving and dealing with emails and faxes is urgently required plus a review of acknowledging and responding to referrals.

More detailed outline of what has happened

Royal Free Hospital A&E consulted RLH neurosurgical team about an injury to my spine in order to a) determine treatment (3 Aug) and subsequently b) to get permission to discharge me (4 Aug)

The staff had enormous difficulty getting through to anybody in the Neurosurgical team at RLH and in ensuring the x-rays and CT scan got to an appropriate person

On discharge RF A&E gave me a list of numbers to ring if I did not hear from RLH in a week. Despite repeated telephone attempts and hours of wasted time over days by me, my GP and surgery staff, it was impossible to achieve any reassurance that I was on the RLH system. On 14 Sept I again tried PALs and eventually spoke to them on 15th. They were prompt in returning calls (once one was able to leave a message) and they told me to speak to


I now know (from an extremely helpful person in AIRS - Lucky) that the referral was sent on 3 Aug it but not "received" in the appropriate place in

RLH until 1st Sept .

As of today 17 Sept - 6.5 weeks after referral - I still have no follow-up appointment.

I have been left in limbo by the RLH and needing specialist advice about managing my back injury

I have written letters of complaint to RFH and the RLH and asked my GP Practice to raise a quality alert

My wife has recorded my views as I have a visual impairment and do not use a computer

Jack Robertson

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Response from The Royal London Hospital

Dear Jack

We are sorry that you feel that the quality of our Neurosurgery Service is disgraceful. This is not the perception we aim to give or the quality of care we aim to provide to our patients. We apologise for this.

We see that you have already made a written complaint. The complaints team will respond to you about the concerns you have raised here.

Thank you for raising this with us.

Kind regards

Barts Health NHS Trust

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