"Slow x-ray result, but speedy referral for surgery"

About: Axminster Hospital Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

1. I was told in 2003 that I have severe osteoarthritis in my left hip. I have managed it fairly successfully for eight years but for the last few months the pain has become unbearable so Dr. Hurst from the Townsend surgery in Seaton, East Devon, referred me for an X-ray at Axminster Hospital prior to referring me for surgery.

2. The letter from Axminster Hospital arrived within a couple of days offering me an X-ray almost immediately. I duly arrived at Axminster some three quarters of an hour early but was seen within a couple of minutes. I was quite prepared to wait until the appointed time but was very relieved to be seen so quickly as it enabled me to get an earlier bus home. This was on a Monday morning and the lady who took the X-ray told me the result would be with my surgery in a couple of days and I should hear from them in a week. In anticipation of receiving the result so quickly I made an appointment to see Dr Hurst the following Wednesday morning. All seemed to be going really well at this stage and I was particularly impressed by the speed, efficiency and help I was receiving.

3. By the Friday I was getting somewhat anxious as I had heard nothing (perhaps I acted too soon) but nevertheless rang my surgery in the afternoon to see if they had the X-ray and was told they hadn't got it and to ring back on the Monday. On the Monday I rang again, having checked first with Axminster Hospital who told me that they had sent it electronically so even if the hard copy had not arrived it would definitely be accessible. Again the surgery told me they hadn't got it and to ring back the next day.

4. I then had a call from my osteopath who works at the Townsend surgery (I had been treated by him and had left a message the previous week to say that the hip was getting worse and updating him generally) and I explained what was currently going on and he was very reassuring and said he was sure Dr Hurst would be able to access the X-ray so when I attended the surgery on the Wednesday I felt more confident and much relieved and of course Dr Hurst was able to bring the X-ray on to the computer screen and show me the result.

5. I do not wish to complain but it probably would have been better if I had just been told to make an appointment to see my GP after one week had elapsed rather than waiting for the surgery to contact me. I wonder how long I might have waited? I was very grateful for the helpful intervention of the osteopath. Initially I did think of ringing Dr Hurst myself but didn't want to waste his time, especially as the surgery kept telling me they hadn't got the result.

6. Things have gone much more smoothly since then. After seeing the X-ray my GP told me that in his opinion I required a total hip replacement as soon as possible. Within a week DART sent me a letter with details of how to contact them to make an appointment to see the orthopaedic consultant. The young lady I spoke to was extremely helpful and gave me the first available appointment which I readily accepted and this was followed up with a confirmatory letter within a couple of days. I saw my GP today and said I now had the appointment and had less than a month to wait and he, like me, was pleased it would not be too long. He also hoped the operation would be done as soon as possible as the deterioration is severe, and again his kindness and helpfulness I found very reassuring.

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Responses

Response from Susan Pearce, Project Support Manager, DART (Devon Access & Referral Team), NHS Devon

Dear ‘Jane Kerridge’,

Thank you very much for taking the time to let us know about your experience of using the local services. I am very pleased that you are happy with your treatment so far and, particularly on behalf of DART, I would like to thank you for your kind comments. It’s always lovely to hear when we’re doing a good job and I’m sure the other teams involved in your care so far would say the same. I hope that the rest of your care goes just as well.

Best wishes,

Susan

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