"Failure to put in place a contract for spinal patients."

About: BMI the Lincoln Hospital United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

(as the patient),

Lincoln County Hospital has cancelled a contract with a private hospital for spinal patients.

In February I had an epidural in my spine and was due to have a follow up appointment in April. A couple of days before this appointment I was told by telephone that the appointment was cancelled. When asked when a new appointment was to be arrainged, I was told that the contract had been cancelled and that no further appointments were to be arrainged; not even at Lincoln County Hospital. If I was to be taken into A and E then I would be seen but not otherwise. I have now gone back to my GP and have been refdered to another NHS department for assessment and probable referal to either Nottingham or Sheffied. Either of these will require a couple of hours travel in a train or bus; something wich is painful and totally unnescessary as we have a perfectly good hospital in the city.

This seems to be a classic case of bad management and a waste of money.

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Responses

Response from Jennie Negus, Deputy Director of Patient Services, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

picture of Jennie Negus

Please accept my apologies for the difficult time you had when the contract for spinal services was changed.

In September 2010 a collaborative decision was taken by senior clinicians and managers within United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) and NHS Lincolnshire to suspend the current spinal service and refer spinal outpatient appointments to alternative providers to ensure effective, timely clinical management of patients. One of the main reasons for this was the high number of referrals being made to the spinal service at the time.

To collectively improve patient management whilst delivering a sustainable spinal service for the future, patients were offered spinal outpatient appointments at other hospitals and clinics for an interim period. This allowed GPs, ULHT, NHS Lincolnshire and patient representatives to review the future service provision. I am very sorry that this caused such inconvenience.

I would also like to apologise for the late response to your posting; we have just introduced a system for reviewing and responding to stories posted on Patient Opinion and I would like to reassure you that we are listening and learning from what our patients feedback to us; so thank you again for taking the time to share yours.

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Response from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Dear hoochman123

Please accept my apologies for the difficult time you are encountering with your MRI appointments and spinal services within Lincolnshire.

In September 2010 a collaborative decision was taken by senior clinicians and managers within United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) and the former NHS Lincolnshire to suspend the spinal service and refer spinal outpatient appointments to alternative providers to ensure effective, timely clinical management of patients.

With regards to the open MRI scanner, I have sought advice from the Radiology Manager. As you have mentioned, Lincolnshire Nottingham, Sheffield or Leicester do not have such scanners.

Open scanners are generally either of poor quality or very expensive. They don’t always help with claustrophobic patients. Sheffield Hospitals do offer a service under general anaesthetic but patients are usually required to “try” to have the scan first as they found that 90% of patients who are claustrophobic do actually manage the scan, with a little help and support from the radiographers.

Regarding funding, this should not be an issue for your surgeon. We send many patients over to London or Leeds where there are open scanners and the Trust is invoiced for the service.