"Limitation of patient choice in Plymouth"

About: Royal Eye Infirmary / Ophthalmology Sentinel Healthcare Southwest Community Interest Company / Referral & Appointment Booking Team

(as the patient),

My general practitioner Dr Hirst referred me back to Mr Habib, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, for consideration of a cataract operation on my left eye as I am delighted by the result of the operation on my right eye last year and have established a relationship of trust and respect with Mr Habib.

He could also follow-up the results of both operations and help if any future problems arose.

When I contacted Sentinel CIC, I was offered a choice of provider, including an appointment at the right hospital, but they could not tell me whether it was the clinic of the consultant my GP had written to at my request. (It was not).

I was told that the hospital might notice that the referral letter was addressed to a different consultant and might then change the appointment. It seemed very bureaucratic and unsatisfactory.

I appreciate that some providers do not supply Sentinel with the name of the consultant responsible for regular clinics, so it may require both organisations to enable each patient to be seen "by the right person" (Dr Helen Thomas, Chair of Sentinel, Annual Report 2010/11).

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