"Poor outpatient care"

About: Stoke Mandeville Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

In June I had a cycling accident and was admitted to A&E with a broken collar bone and a temporal bone fracture. I was admitted to the ward and stayed for 2 nights under observation. The orthopaedics doctor, during morning rounds was not too concerned about doing surgery on the collar bone but said verbally that I should have a follow up in 7-10 days. After being discharged (without any indication of symptoms to be aware of, particularly with my head injury!) I was told that follow up appointments would be arranged afterwards.

The discharge notes stated a follow up with the ENT dept. after 6 weeks, but nothing about my collar bone! The week after leaving hospital I called the Orthopaedics dept. who had no record of me and passed me back to the ward. The ward then claimed that I should see a GP if I had issues as an orthopaedics follow up was not in my notes!

I went to see a GP, as the collar bone did not feel good, who then called for a referral to fractures. Soon after this I went back to to A&E as the discomfort was worsening. I had new x-rays, which showed that the bones moved and weren't touching. Despite that, the doctors suggested to follow a conservative treatment and fitted a new sling.

I finally got to the fractures clinic approx 3 weeks after the accident. Surgery was still not recommended, but they wanted a second follow up in 4 weeks time. Reception had 'system issues' and could not arrange it and said they would contact me. I heard nothing from them and tried to chase up with multiple phone calls!

During this time I had still not received an appointment for ENT despite enquiring. Approx 6 weeks after the crash, I received a letter stating I missed an ENT appointment arranged for the previous week, which was now re-arranged for 2 months later! I'd have gladly gone to the ENT appointment had I received any notice! Maybe it got lost in the post, who knows.

As a side issue, a broken metacarpal which was initially missed was found 4 weeks after the incident. Fortunately, the fracture was healing OK.

8 weeks after the accident and the second follow up had still not been arranged for the collar bone. I decided to go for private health. The private consultant took x-rays which showed displacement and no significant callus formation and said he'd have recommended surgery from the start. He suggested leaving it for a further 3-4 weeks, in the hope of progress. Clearly different doctors will have different opinions and different motives. Likewise, Private and Public health care.

Just over 3 weeks later, I had the surgery done privately. The procedure went well and I am now starting recovery, again! It's understandable to give it time and wait to see if it will heal naturally, but combined with the complete inability to get an appointment and the lack of information this is poor service. If I hadn't been seen privately, I'd still be waiting for an appointment. Despite this, I have no complaints about medical staff I was in contact with.

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Response from Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Patient

I am sorry to learn that you spent two days as an inpatient at Stoke Mandeville Hospital following a cycling accident in June and I can understand how worrying this must have been for you at the time. Therefore, it is disappointing to read that you feel that your follow up outpatient care was so poor that you decided to receive treatment from a private hospital instead.

We are concerned to learn that this was your experience of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust’s services. We hope that you may be happy to speak with us in some more detail about your experience, so that we can understand what happened more clearly and explore ways in which we can assist and improve our patient experience in the Trust.

If you are happy to share more detail about your specific experience with us, please contact our dedicated Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 01296 316042 or email pals@buckshealthcare.nhs.uk

I hope you continue to make a good recovery.