"Hands-down the worst experience of the NHS in..."

About: University Hospital Lewisham

Orthopaedic department Lewisham Hospital:

My experience of the physiotherapy team at Lewisham Hospital was overwhelmingly positive. The staff in the team were all lovely but the same can not be said about the Orthopaedic department. The follow-up is either patchy or non-existent. At no point have I felt that the consultant has had my interests at heart.

It is rare for me to use NHS services. I did not visit my G.P. for five years. On the one occasion I wanted to access healthcare within the NHS, I would have expected to receive a higher level of patient care. When my first appointment at the Orthopaedic department was delayed well over an hour, the consultant should have apologised for the delay. This did not happen and I was taken aback by his arrogance. Things were made worse by the fact that a party of trainee doctors were in the room to witness my obvious distress.

They watched as the consultant attempted the sensitive procedure of draining the ganglion. I felt I should have been offered excision and that their decision to opt for aspiration was made solely on the basis that they did not want me clogging up their waiting list. My G.P. had already made a botched attempt to drain the ganglion. Unsurprisingly, the fluid returned within two weeks. After my second appointment on 29th March, there was no follow-up. No indication during the consultation that I would not hear from the hospital for another four months.

No managing of patient expectations. No phone call when I left a message with the department secretary. No follow-up letter as a result of a second phone call to the department. It would be hard to imagine anything more depressing. My ganglion is on a joint and causes me pain.

I felt like I was being treated like a guinea pig every time I visited the Orthopaedic department as there was a party of trainee doctors observing my appointments. If the non-existent level of care I have received from the Orthopaedic department at Lewisham Hospital is representative of the NHS, I am truly scared for what is going to happen to me when I become ill and I am dependent upon the NHS for life-sustaining treatment.

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Response from University Hospital Lewisham

Thank you for your feedback with regard to the physiotherapy team. It is important to us that we communicate effectively and create a positive experience. We will pass your comments onto the team.

In response to your concerns about the treatment you received when you attended our Orthopaedic Clinic.

I am very sorry you have had cause to write to us with regard to this.

You were concerned about the fact that you were not apologised to for the wait you experienced.

The reception and nursing staff are very good at communicating and apologising to patients when clinics are overrunning and sincerely apologise for this not happening on this occasion.

There are signs located all around the clinic stating that Lewisham is a training hospital and that if you do not require trainees present during your consultation then please mention this to the doctor at the time.

Regarding the excision/drainage of ganglion, this is a clinical decision to be made by the Consultant during your consultation.

Moving forward, we are in the process of organising that our patients are sent a copy of the clinic letter to ensure the patient is kept informed of all clinical decisions and outcomes.

I would like to assure you that the issues you raised have been taken very seriously. Thank you for drawing our attention to these matters, it is only when patients report such incidents that we are able to correct them and maintain the high standards that we aim to achieve. I hope that this letter answers your concerns.

However, if you require further clarification regarding any of your concerns then please contact our PALS Department with further details, i.e., full name, date of appointment etc and we can then look into the matter further.

Kind regards

Colette Try

Operational Manager

Surgery & Anaesthetics

Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust

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