"Poor communication regarding surgery"

About: Queen's Medical Centre / General surgery

(as a relative),

My husband attended A and E at Easter with severe pain that was diagnosed as gallstones. Surgery was recommended a few weeks later at clinic and he was told he'd be sent an appointment. Nothing was forthcoming for a number of weeks during which he had to stay off work due to the pain and the strong painkillers he had to take. He told the GP about the pain and was given different, equally strong painkillers that he found hard to take. It was only when he went to the GP a second time about the pain that anything was done and he was given a date for an operation to remove his gallbladder two weeks later.

We have two small children so we arranged childcare to work around the surgery date. My husband was told to be in for 7am and I went with him, which meant both of us missed a day of work and I lost a day's pay. I was fine with doing that as my husband needed my support. My husband was told he was first on the list and he was given a gown, compression stockings etc. He then waited in the bed until 3pm and was told to go home with no surgery. I understand that emergencies bumped him off the list but what annoyed us was the fact that he was told at the start of the day that he was first and so I waited with him for the entire day believing he could go in at any point. If he had been told early on that there was a chance he could get bumped that would have helped - I could have gone to work and not lost out on pay.

His operation was rescheduled for the following Monday and he went in first. I went in to wait to see him after the operation. The nurses on ward C32 eventually told me that he was in recovery and would go to ward E15 in a couple of hours. I was told nothing about how the surgery went. I went for lunch and then went to ward E15 to be told he wasn't there but would be up soon, so I waited outside the ward on a very uncomfortable chairs. I checked with the ward what the situation was a number of times and was told each time he would be up soon. As it was, he came to the ward nearly 6 hours after the end of his surgery. When I saw my husband he was very surprised that I had been told absolutely nothing about how he was - he had asked numerous times while in recovery for a message to be sent to me and he was assured by the nurses that that had happened. At no point was any message given to me, so I can only assume the nurses lied. After nearly 6 hours of waiting with no information I was very worried and upset by the time my husband got to the ward.

The care he received from both the doctors and nurses was top notch and I can't fault it, but the communication was absolutely appalling and it made the day far more stressful than it needed to be.

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Response from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Thank you for sharing such a detailed account of your experience with us. It is disappointing when we provide great care, then let our patients and ourselves down by getting other things wrong (communication on this occasion). I am sorry that our communication about your husband’s surgery was poor and for any worry this caused. I’d be happy to discuss this or any other concerns you have in more detail. You can contact me on 0115 924 9924 ext 68451.

Kind regards,

Rekhaben Patel,

Matron, Gastroenterology and Colorectal Surgery