"Sinus treatment and failure to communicate between NHS locations"

About: Crosshouse Hospital / Ear, Nose & Throat NHS Lanarkshire Victoria Infirmary / Ear, Nose & Throat

(as the patient),

I after three years and various trips to the doctor was refereed tot he ENT specialist at Cross House Hospital in Kilmarnock. The specialist used what I believe to be an out dated camera and checked my nose, as well as some other tests. Nothing wrong with you he said and off I went.

I moved location from Ayrshire to south Lanarkshire, the problems with my sinuses continued. I signed up with a new doctor and when in to see him with regards to my ongoing sinus problems. He referred me to the ENT specialist at Victoria Royal Infirmary Glasgow. Between the time of the appointment and the ENT, I had to use NHS24 and was referred to an emergency dentist, who then told me it was a sinus infection (again). I seen the specialist in Glasgow, he used a very small camera, I described the tech the Kilmarnock specialist used and he seemed rather intrigued that they were still using the old large camera system. He also seen nothing, but said we evidently need to run more tests to determine what was happening. and booked me in for a brain scan, sinus scan and gave me a sample to collect of the clear fluid that drips from my nose, suspecting it might be brain fluid.

This is where my story starts, I handed the sample into my local GP, the Gps that referred me to the Glasgow hospital. I went for the scans and then after 6 weeks or so returned to see the specialist to find out what the scans and the sample had revealed. The sample never made its way back to my specialist. Evidently I was confused by this as I had handed it in and it had the consultants details as well as my CHI number / details and URGENT stamped across the top.

I explained to the consultant that I had captured the fluid and handed the sample in, which in it self was a task as it is not a regular thing and when it happens it runs out the nose like water, I was literally carrying the sample jar around with me 24/7 to capture it, and now it had somehow disappeared. I wanted to know if my brain was leaking or not. Yet there was no record of my sample on the specialist computers.

I drove from my specialist appointment to my Gps and asked at the front desk for information with regards to the sample I handed in. The receptionist was busy and passed me on to her colleague when I stated sample, she automatically assumed a stool sample and asked her colleague to help with my missing stool sample. I was told they couldn't help me at this time and to call back the next day between a very specific time frame.

I called the next day at the allotted time, I was told I had the wrong number and to call this new number. I called the new number and it was the receptionist from the day before. I explained my self again and she had a look on the computer/records. Yes your sample is in …...... (a hospital in either Wishaw or Hamilton ) a south Lanarkshire hospitals lab. I said oh ok, why did it not go to my specialist? It works out that South Lanarkshire NHS even though I was refereed to a Glasgow Hospital do not automatically pass on the results of the specimens handed into a South Lanarkshire practice to a Glasgow Hospital. I then asked for the nurse to post out the results to my consultant.

I believe that if I had not been persistent and chased this up my sample would have been processed and the information would never of made it to the specialist. (As yet I still do not know the results of the specimen) This I found to be incredulous, that two regional branches of the NHS do not communicate vital patient information between themselves. I believe that if that sample had been life threatening and requiring me to have instant life saving surgery I would now be dead.

That's my story.

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Responses

Response from Laura Jack, Patient Affairs Manager, Primary Care Division, NHS Lanarkshire

picture of Laura Jack

Dear ENT-Patient,

Thank you for taking the time to share what has obviously been a frustrating experience for you. If your specimen has been tested and reported, your GP should be able to discuss your results with you. You may need to make an appointment for this.

I can understand your frustration that your results weren’t available for your review and I can only apologise for any inconvenience or distress this has caused.

I believe the particular test you needed takes between 3-4 weeks to process. When specimens are sent to Wishaw General Hospital for testing, the results or report is returned to the requesting doctor, which I imagine was your GP; our IT systems are not routinely accessible to staff from other Health Boards.

I’d be happy to discuss your experience in more detail or feedback to your GP if you’d like to get in touch. You can contact me on Tel No: 01698 858321.

Many thanks

Laura

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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 ENT-Patient,

Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us your story. I just wanted to let you know I will pass this to our ENT team at University Hospital Crosshouse so they can review your comments about the equipment. I am sorry you have had such a difficult time and I hope you now have the results and a plan to move forward with your health.

Best wishes,

Eunice

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Response from NHS Ayrshire and Arran

Dear ENT-Patient,

The ENT department in Ayrshire and Arran uses a variety of optical equipment that is well maintained and fit for purpose. We have compared our equipment to the newer optical systems but there were no advantage over what we currently use. Therefore the decision was made not to spend tax payers money for no benefit to patient care at this time. However, when our equipment requires to be replaced we will again review the available equipment to get the most cost effective and highest performance equipment available.

Thank you again for letting us know about your care and I hope all is well with you now.

A Whymark

Consultant ENT

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