"Wife's wait for an x-ray"

About: Stoke Mandeville Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as a relative),

Having finally persuaded my wife to see her GP about her pain (I don’t want to bother them there are people much worse than me type attitude) she received an appointment to have an x-ray five weeks later. “It is the soonest we can offer”.

Because X-Rays are of paramount importance in the fundamental and crucial early diagnosis of the majority of physical ailments and normally part of the initial investigation, and knowing that this Trust was rated as ‘requires improvement to provide safe, effective, responsive, and well led services’, I thought that by bringing this to the attention of the CEO of Bucks NHS Trust in a personal letter he would act quickly in general terms and specifically in my wife’s case to rectify the situation and speed up what is after all a lynch pin of diagnosis and not have to wait 5 weeks after professional medical help is sought. Consequently in the hope that this could be resolved quickly, not only for my wife but just as important, others whose health could be jeopardised by such lengthy inexcusable delays, I sent copies to

Jeremy Hunt the Health Minister (no reply received as yet a month later)

Dame Sally Davies Chief Medical Officer MOH (unable to become involved in individual cases but outlined in detail procedures necessary to complain)

and Dame Julie Mellor current Ombudsman Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (her office phoned me suggesting I got Bucks NHS Trust to confirm they had received my letter seeking help before taking further action.)

My wife did receive a phone call from the office of the complaints manager, not to offer help but to check that I was indeed acting on her behalf lest they breach the Data Protection Act, and then a letter from the same office acknowledging my letter, sorrowful to read the issues raised and promising to reply with 40 working days (i.e. 2 months)!

Having written to the CEO personally I could not believe that he could condone that reply. It made a mockery of his trust’s mission statement ‘Our aim is to ensure that all patients receive right care, right place, right time, first time and we strive to deliver this by keeping our promises to you’. I wrote to him again after reading their Care Quality Commission inspection summary that found them ‘wanting and in need of improvement’, in the vain hope that as someone only recently chosen by the trust to provide and protect our health that he would be aware of the reactions of his staff to very serious concerns about public health.

Now, over a week later I have not yet received an acknowledgement let alone the courtesy of a reply allaying my fears and promising quick decisive action that will benefit and affect the health and even lives of many.

These people are employees of ours, paid to look after our health needs. I think they are failing badly. I had sought an earlier appointment for an x-ray than 5 weeks, to be informed they would consider it and let me know within a further 40 working days. No assistance, no support.

Having written to the powers that be I do not know what further action to take other than to try to get the national press interested in the hope that embarrassment might stimulate them into action.

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Response from Sue Hynard, Steve Baker's Office, MP for Wycombe

Dear Sir,

I work in the constituency office of Steve Baker, MP for Wycombe. I was interested to read your comments, and would like more information and your permission to include this case as part of Steve Baker's ongoing work with the NHS. If you live in the Wycombe constituency and would like to get in touch please ring me on 01494 448408.

Yours faithfully,

Sue Hynard

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Response from Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Sir,

I am sorry to read of the frustration you have experienced in gaining an earlier appointment date for your wife’s scheduled x-ray.

Given that your concerns are already with our formal complaints team, your comments have been passed directly to the team for immediate attention.

Please contact the team on 01494 734958 if you have any queries in the meantime.

Kind regards

Patient Advice & Liaison Service