"Lack of common courtesy"

About: Birmingham Children's Hospital

(as a parent/guardian),

My son has severe flat feet and struggles with constant pain. From the age of nine years I have been taking him for physiotherapy at Birmingham Children's hospital regularly for five years. Every time it was a different physiotherapist and the lack of continuity meant that they could never assess whether the therapy was working! Eventually the physiotherapy department said that he needed a specialist in foot surgery Mr Prem and would need surgical correction- they offered to refer him to this doctor. shortly after there were two letters in the post. One to give me an appointment with Mr Prem in 4 months and another to see another consultant. I called to find out why there were two appointments and was told that was because an old GP referral six years ago! They cancelled Mr Prem's appointment insisting we had to see this second consultant first and if he felt it was too much then we would see Mr Prem.

The consultant examined my son, told me that the surgery had 50% success rate and that they would not operate to please the mother! ! By then my 14 year old son was determined to have anything to relieve the pain- it was entirely his choice. This consultant was not only rude and derogatory to both of us but also kept calling us in to review for another year without ever doing anything about it. They finally said they was going to have a joint consultation with Mr Prem but when we turned up for it Mr Prem was not there. Instead we were told the appointment was cancelled after a wait of 4 hours by the registrar.

I raised the issue with the PALS and was finally given an appointment with Mr Prem. He was kindness itself and told us the surgery had 90% success rate. We were desperate and went ahead with the surgery that happened after 6 months. The care in ward 5 was fantastic. Thanks to Mr Prem( God bless him! ) and his team my son walks today without any pain, his head held high.

In all 6 years of delay, pain and anguish. But the worst experience was a doctor who tells the mother that they " could not operate to please the mother". They not know the basic principle of Paediatrics is parents know best. I have carried my son in his agony when walking became impossible. I have watched his self esteem shrink when he cannot run or even walk to school like his friends. No mother forces her child to go through the pain of 8 hour surgery - to say such a thing is unacceptable!

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Response from Janette Vyse, Deputy Head of Nursing, Patient Experience & Participation Lead, Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Muddy,

Thank you for taking the time to share your story and experience.

I am pleased that ultimately your son has had his operation, it was successful and you had some great care from Mr Prem and ward 5 - this is the exprience we would want for all of out patients, all of the time.

However, I am very sorry to hear that prior to this there were clearly things we could have done better - particularly around continuity of care, communication and in listenng to your concerns - and I am sorry it had such an impact.

There is room for learning and improvement from what happened to you and your son and I will ensure that your experiences - both the positive and the need to improve are shared with the teams involved.

If it would be helpful to discuss any aspect of this in more detail, I would be very happy to do so and my contact details are below.

I sincerely hope that since his operation your son is making good progress.

With kind regards,

Janette Vyse

Deputy Head of Nursing

t: 0121 333 8619

e: janette.vyse@bch.nhs.uk

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