"Absolutely awful."

About: Cumberland Infirmary

I was seen initially in November, having become very unwell and extrememly debilitated virtually overnight.

I felt I wasn't listened to, nor treated with any respect and came away feeling patronised. Gave various blood samples but wasn't told what they were even testing for, nor given any idea as to what might be wrong with me. I returned in February having begged to be seen again as my condition had worsened. Yet again I was patronised and fobbed off and discharged, with a misdiagnosis of fibromyalgia, feeling like some sort of pathetic malingerer wasting their time. Even with that diagnosis, no further offer of support was given, just discharged and told to go back to my GP.

My GP waited 2 months for a letter from the department after my first visit, which both they and I felt was unacceptable.

With the support of my GP I paid to see a private rheumatologist and they were fantastic, reassuring me that yes there was definitely something wrong and has ensured I'll be treated back on the NHS at Hexham rheumatology, for long term investigations and hopefully some sort of treatment. All I wanted was to get better and get my life back.

Sadly I've started to lose some of my hair on top of everything else going on and I feel upset that had I been listened to in the first place, I'd be much further on with more in-depth investigations by now, as opposed to being back at square one.

Story from NHS Choices

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Responses

Response from Cumberland Infirmary

We are very sorry to receive your comments and concerns via NHS Choices/Patient opinion website about your experience of our Rheumatology outpatient department.

We take all issues surrounding patient care very seriously and it is disappointing to read that you felt you were being patronised and treated as a ‘time waster’.

The events that you describe about lack of information re your investigations, the communication delay and lack of support are not our usual standard and were clearly very distressing for you; being treated this way is never acceptable.

Without further investigation it is difficult to ascertain what went wrong and due to your anonymity I am unable to look into this any further at the moment.

If you are unhappy with the care or treatment that you have received you have the right to complain.

The PALS team (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) can help you through this process or put you in touch with the senior staff members who may be able to discuss your concerns with you.

They can be contacted on

• 01228 814008 between 8.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

We do value your feedback and I will share this with the relevant senior staff within the department.

Once again please accept my sincere apologies for the poor experience resulting from your visit during November, 2015.

Alison S-D

Patient Experience

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