"Appauling"

About: Southampton General Hospital

What I liked

I live in Bournemouth and I am waiting for a nerve decompression on my spine. After waiting months to see a Consultant from Dorchester at Poole Hospital, I finally had an appointment in October. I was then referred to Southampton to see a Neurosurgeon and was given an appointment for 17th February, over 4 months later. When I asked for an earlier appointment I was told that he only does 2 surgeries a month and that was why they could not see me earlier. Bearing in mind that by now I had already been waiting since December 2009. Over the Christmas period I was in so much pain that I phoned Southampton to see if they had any cancellations to fit me in earlier. I was told that they do not have a cancellation list. Only 15 minutes later they phoned me and told me that they had a cancellation for 6th January. Imagine my pleasure that I got in 1 month early. When I arrived for the appointment and was called in, the Consultant told me that he had not received my MRI scan from Poole yet and could not discuss my treatment with me only what he supposed to be wrong. He said he would get them from Poole and call me the next day. I was slightly sceptical as not having them for 3 months, I wasn't sure how he would get them the next day. Thus, I was greatly surprised when he called me at 9am the next day. We discussed the treatment and I was told there is a 7 month waiting list. I was horrified as my symptoms are increasing daily and now I can hardly walk. God knows what I will be like in 7 months.

I am appalled that after all the bad press that the NHS has had over the years, the hospitals are still ignoring the time targets that have been set. As far as I amd concerned 7 months is unacceptable. By then I will have been waiting 1 year and 8 months. It is outrageous.

I am interested to know if any of you think this is acceptable.

What could be improved

Timescales so that people are not waiting so long.AppointmentsCancellationsReferralsSurgeryNervousConsultants

Story from NHS Choices

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Responses

Response from Southampton General Hospital

Dear Lynne. Thank you for taking the time to post your comment. We are sorry that your scans had not arrived in time for your appointment but are glad to hear that our consultant was able to obtain these swiftly and phone you to discuss your treatment.

Access to spinal surgery is a national problem. Demand is higher than the capacity we have to undertake this type of surgery, so unfortunately non-urgent patients may have to wait longer than expected. There is even more pressure on the service during the winter when we have many patients being admitted through the Emergency Department for unplanned operations. We are working on these issues with our partners at the local primary care trusts.

We can see why you are particularly frustrated because of the additional wait, not just at SUHT but due to going to Poole before being referred to us, and more importantly, due to the pain you are in.

We do not get your personal details from NHS Choices so we are unable to contact you or your doctor directly, but we would urge you to get in touch with your GP and ask them to follow up your treatment dates.

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