"could do better"

About: The Royal Victoria Infirmary

What I liked

Forget about what I liked, I've had to plit my comments across sections to get them all in.

My GP referred me on 30/9/10, and I had my first appointment with one of the Consultant’s team on 10/11/10. I was told I would get an MRI scan (in around 5 or 6 weeks) before deciding on any treatment. Having not heard anything, I called the MRI department on 10/2/11 (19 weeks since GP visit, and 13 weeks since hospital appointment). I was told they had not been asked to call me for a scan. I then called the Consultant’s secretary who checked, and admitted that the forms had not been raised, but would let the team member know. Two weeks later on 22/2/11 (now 21 weeks from GP visit), I still hadn’t heard anything so I contacted my GP. He called back to say that he had spoken to the department and they’d promised I would get my scan shortly. Why didn’t I get an apology from the hospital? I did get my scan, not at the RVI, but at the Freeman, on 12/3/11 (23 weeks from GP visit). They told me it would take a couple of weeks to get the report back to the team and I would then get a letter for a follow up appointment. I got the letter on 16/4/11 (28 weeks from GP visit), informing me that an outpatient appointment had been arranged for 17/8/11.

What could be improved

If I had accepted this date I would have gone 46 weeks from GP referral without any treatment! I called outpatients on 18/4/11 explaining “the history”, and within a couple of minutes the young lady asked me if I could make it just 2 days later, on 20/4/11 (29 weeks from GP visit and no start of treatment). Why couldn’t this appointment have been arranged in the first place? Is there no check to see if patients are “going outside” the NHS pledge of “patients can expect to start their consultant led treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks from referral for non-urgent conditions”, and “many patients will receive treatment much sooner than that”.

Anything else?

I saw the Consultant who explained my condition, and advised surgery. He could see I was a bit taken aback, and advised not making my mind up there and then, but to wait until I had received my letter and discussed it with my GP. He said I would get the letter in a month, but there was a six month wait for the operation. If I wanted to proceed quickly I would need to get my name on the list soon. On 9/6/11 (7 weeks from follow up visit), I still hadn’t had my letter. I called the secretary who said she would chase it up, but that typing was outsourced. We agreed I would call back in two weeks if I had heard nothing. The 2 weeks is up, it is now 2 months since the appointment and I am still waiting for the letter I was supposed to get in one month. I called the secretary this morning (23/6/11). She apologised that they could not find a copy of the letter dictated by the Consultant on 20/4/11, and informed me that he had now left the NHS Trust. She suggested that they make an appointment for me to see another Consultant.

I am totally disgusted and incensed at the string of administrative blunders I have suffered, and am seeking further advice.

Is it any wonder that David Cameron wants to bring in reforms!

Story from NHS Choices

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Responses

Response from The Royal Victoria Infirmary

Thank you for posting your comments about your experiences within the Neurosurgery Department at the RVI and bringing these issues to our attention. We are very sorry to hear that your experience fell short of the standard expected and apologise unreservedly for this.

There clearly was an unacceptable delay from your initial outpatient appointment to you receiving your scan for which we would like to apologise. The Department would also like to apologise that initially you were given a routine follow up appointment, in light of your experience and the delay waiting for your scan, this should have been expedited. We acknowledge that there are particular Consultants with longer waiting times than others, but do make every attempt to provide elective treatment within appropriate timescales across the Directorate.

It is difficult for us to address your specific concerns without knowing further details and we are anxious to ensure that you receive an urgent outpatient appointment with an alternative Consultant so that they may continue your care. Please contact the Directorate Manager, Mrs R Mercer or the Patient Relations Manager, Mr Paul Anderson on 0191 233 6161

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