"Problems with duty of care at Hairmyres Hospital"

About: Hairmyres Hospital / Respiratory Medicine

(as the patient),

I have been treated at the hospital since mid-2013 for sarcoidosis, and was attending clinics on a regular basis until my doctor's retirement in December 2015.

At my final consultation with my doctor informed me that she would personally be discussing my case with my new consultant due to the severity of my illness – in her own words it is "one of the nastiest case of sarcoidosis” she has seen for a long time. During that final consultation we agreed a treatment plan which would take me up to my first meeting with a new consultant in February 2016.

My situation is complicated by the fact that the treatment for sarcoidosis has now given me severe osteoporosis, so she was keen for me to come off the prednisolone as quickly and safely as possible and then be referred to a specialist in Glasgow if / when the sarcoidosis reappeared (he professional opinion was that it would re appear and that the steroid treatment would fail for the second time. )

At the start of February I contacted the hospital to find out why I had not been notified of my next appointment. The respiratory secretary informed me that none of the patients had been assigned to new consultants yet, but there was a meeting taking place that day to address this issue.

More time passed, and during that time I have been reducing my steroid intake as per my retired doctor’s instructions – reduce by 5mg each month. I contacted the secretary today and she seemed embarrassed to tell me that no progress had been made – there had been no discussions about re assigning patients.

I am disappointed and surprised this is the case. I presume my doctor gave three months’ notice of her decision to retire, so half a year down the line no one has thought to re distribute her patients? I would expect the “duty of care” ethic of the NHS would mean that looking after the patients need should be the prime concern, but I see no evidence of this.

I am now at the point where I am reducing my steroid intake to 5mg per day, having not received a lung function test, blood test or x-ray for several months. I am effectively self-diagnosing / medicating based on how I feel my symptoms are affecting me. I believe that the safety net offered by regular checks at Hairmyres has disappeared and I am guessing the best course of action to take on a daily basis.

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Response from Helen Mackie, Chief of Medical Services, Hairmyres Hospital, NHS Lanarkshire

picture of Helen Mackie

Dear Sarcoid-sufferer,

I am really sorry to hear that there has not been a satisfactory handover of your care to a new Consultant following your Doctors retirement at the end of last year.

The Respiratory Department is actively recruiting new Consultants at the moment. However it is not acceptable that you are still waiting to recieve a follow up appointment and for that please accept my apologies.

If you can contact us directly on 01355584485 and give your personal details I will try and resolve this matter as soon as possible.

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