"Stressful, inefficient and unmanaged - Is anyone..."

About: Leicester General Hospital

What I liked

The specialist nurse who sat with me while I received my intravenous infusion for pain relief was personable and thorough - she was an asset to the NHS.

The consultant dealt with my complaint about long gaps between treatments by offering me any cancellations that came up (a good idea) and gave me details of who to contact - but when I did so, it proved to be unreliable information - they have no capability or wish to fill gaps in that way. They seem to prefer to waste them.

What could be improved

The day case ward is over-staffed with nurses who spent all morning gossiping while healthcare assistants seemed to do all the real nursing work. Being subjected to the nursing staff conversations about holidays, boyfriends, nights out, husbands and hospital rumours does nothing to treat patients better.

I get asked the same questions over and over again by different people to fill in forms - it should all be on computer. You could learn from other hospitals where I correct/update print-outs.

Pain management was moved from Leicester Royal Infirmary to the General so it would be "more efficient". All I have experienced is less treatment. The quarterly cycle I had been on for several years that enables me to work full-time as a company Chief Executive has been steadily reduced by the General to 6 monthly. This is not a clinical decision by the consultant - it is a management decision to save money. But I end up on sick leave unable to work - and the state loses far more in lost tax from me that the treatment costs. The only place left for me to take my complaint about this is my MP because my consultant just blames the bean counters and my GP says the General is doing it to all of his referrals.

The Leicester Royal Infirmary Pain Unit was a delight to be treated in - but it is mothballed. An asset that is being wasted by the NHS standing idle. Instead the General is impersonal, factory style healthcare delivered less frequently so I am ill more often - it is just atrocious.

Anything else?

I can't help thinking that a specialist private company, contracted to run the Pain Management Service and Day Case Units would do a much better job of it by using the resources better.

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Responses

Response from Leicester General Hospital

Thank you for your comments regarding your experiences under the care of our Pain Management team. I am sorry that your experiences on the day ward at Leicester General Hospital have been less than satisfactory and we will gratefully take your feedback on board to improve our services.

It is part of our plans for Pain Management services to move the service onto one site. Pain Management is highly specialised and a comparatively small consultant led service and running the service over multiple sites reduces the ability for the service to deliver consistent care and capacity for our patients. As you are aware, the day case service has now been moved to the dedicated day case unit at the General Hospital. Our doctors tell us that they feel the new system is running more smoothly and productively but we appreciate that this may not be the case from your point of view so thank you for taking the time to leave your comment which we will address to improve our service.

The Osborne theatre area at the Leicester Royal Infirmary has not been mothballed. We are currently refurbishing the area for a new Hope Against Cancer Clinical Trials Unit which will open in the next couple of months. This will bring countless benefits for patients with cancer and we’re really excited about it.

When the Pain Management theatre in the Osborne building was in use at the Royal, it wasn’t being used enough and we were providing an inefficient service with long wait times. By combining the Royal and General services onto the General we have been able to reduce the number of theatre lists we provide from eight a week to six, but with better planning we are still able to treat the same number of patients as before.

There are further advantages to the Pain Management service to the larger day case unit at the General. If our surgeon’s availability changes, we are more able to swap lists with other specialties rather than having to cancel, further helping us to maximise our capacity and make best use of our resource.

Our increased capacity has enabled us to re-launch partial booking of Pain Management lists, which means our patients are invited to telephone in nearer their planned treatment time to discuss and choose a date. This has resulted in a reduction in patient’s not turning up for their appointments and cancellations, and has helped us to compile a list of patients who are willing and able to come in a short notice. All these processes are helping us to make sure we use our theatres lists as well as we can to reduce wait times and offer flexibility of dates for our patients.

There are specific procedures (such as some infusions) which due to their length are limited in numbers on each list, but the clinical and management teams work together to ensure the wait time between each procedure is appropriate and managed. The consultant team have recently reviewed the protocol of administration of these infusions and have agreed to currently offer 3 annually to each patient, one every 4 months.

Of course, if a patient found this change in protocol was affecting their ability to manage their condition, communication from that patient’s GP would be considered by the consultant who may elect to expedite the treatment if clinically appropriate and helpful.

We hope that our response has helped you understand what we’re trying to do to improve our service. If you would like to contact us directly to your questions answered in more detail, please phone our Patient Information Liaison Service (PILS) free on 0808 1788 337

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