"My wait for cancer treatment"

About: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary / Cancer Services (Medical Oncology) Aberdeen Royal Infirmary / Radiotherapy

(as the patient),

In February 2016 I had a big bleed from my rectum. I was taken to A & E at ARI. The doctor there examined me and said they could feel a tumor. I was admitted and the next day I had a sigmoidoscopy which confirmed a tumor. Later in February I had a CT scan. Mid March I had an MRI scan and the next day I had an anesthesia assessment.

So far, six weeks after diagnosis at the end of March I had a consultation with the surgeon who said I had been referred to the oncologist for radio therapy.

In April I was called by the MDT coordinator to say that I would have to wait 4 weeks for a consultation with the oncologist. That will be 3 months since I was diagnosed. This is way beyond the target of 60 days, an unacceptable delay.

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Response from Linda Oldroyd, Nurse Consultant Patient Safety and Experience, NHS Grampian

Dear wopehum

I am very sorry to hear about your ill health, you must be very worried indeed. If you would like to contact me directly I can make enquiries on your behalf and answer more fully your concerns about delays. Of course I do understand also, if you do not wish to disclose your personal details to me.

NHS Grampian tries hard to meet all our targets and we do understand the impact that waits have on patients, especially those with a diagnosis such as yours. Please be assured that where cancer is concerned we try very hard to get things done in a timely manner and we are very sorry when this does not happen.

I can be contacted by telephone on 01343 567900 or by email loldroyd@nhs.net

KIndest regards,

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Response from Linda Oldroyd, Nurse Consultant Patient Safety and Experience, NHS Grampian

Dear wopehum

The service manager has asked me to post the following response:

I am very sorry to hear of your comments regarding your treatment and in particular your wait for a specialist oncology opinion. In NHS Grampian we aim to assess and treat our patients on indivividual basis and with the highest possible standards. You are correct that we are also duty bound to abide by government standards. It does appear that the 60 day wait you have experienced is over these standards and this is unacceptable. This is something I apologise for unreservedly.

As a service we are aware of the pressures we face. Year on year there is well documented rises in cancer rates. Colo-rectal is a large tumour area. Because of the increasing demand on our service by people such as yourselves we created a business case for additional staff. This was supported by the executive committee and has resulted in additional staff throughout the multi disciplinary team. There will be a consultant joining our team in May that will specialise in colo-rectal tumours.

We are always looking to improve our service and I again apologise for your delay. I hope you can see that we have put in measures to address this shortfall and prevent this happening in the future.’

Thank you

Unit Operational Manager

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Update posted by wopehum (the patient)

The point about delays for cancer treatment is the increased likelihood of spread..

I think mine has spread - have an gland up in my groin that was not there before. So I am concerned that the inordinate delay which I have suffered is likely to kill me. Things might be different if I been seen sooner. From wopehum

Response from Linda Oldroyd, Nurse Consultant Patient Safety and Experience, NHS Grampian

Dear wopehum

I sincerely hope that what your fear is not the case and that your treatment is successful. I understand that you have now been reviewed and that you have a plan of care. However, I understand that you are dismayed by our failure to meet the accepted standard in terms of waiting times and what an impact that has had on you. As highlighted in the service response, it is hoped that with the addition of extra staff, our standards will improve.

I am aware of a formal complaint being lodged and you will receive a response to that which will, I hope, answer the questions about your long wait.

In the meantime, if I can be of any help or support in any way whatsoever, please get in touch again.

Sincerest good wishes,

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Update posted by wopehum (the patient)

You should be aware that I spent many years of my employment in the NHS I know waffle when I see it and your response is a classical example. The treatment plan I have been given means that 93 days will have elapsed between diagnosis and the start of treatment. I think this is disgraceful. What do you think?

My wife and I came to Scotland less than two years ago to spend her remaining year near her daughter. She died last year, having had excellent palliative care. For me, coming to Scotland has been a disaster.