"Lack of appropriate and timeous communication"

About: Western Infirmary/Gartnavel General / Trauma & orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I had surgery about over two years ago. It was life changing for all the wrong reasons. It was not successful and left me in a very much worse state. I had been advised and allowed myself to be guided by those who should have had the knowledge and experience of my condition to help me to make the correct decision.

Despite this, I accept that it was my choice to have surgery and although there were many incidents during my journey that could have been dealt with better, in the main my treatment by NHS staff was acceptable. In retrospect I realise that generally I came into contact with those of band 7 or below. In fact I came across those staff who excelled in their job and attitude and those who seemed so burned out that they had detached themselves from their patients out of sheer self preservation. I am sure they were once excellent themselves.

As a consequence of my experiences I had a meeting with my surgeon and others last year where some recommendations were agreed to make the journey easier for those patients who are about to undergo similar types of surgery. I waited three months for a follow up letter in this regard which I thought was reasonable in such a large organisation. Nothing. Despite numerous phone calls and e-mails to the complaints department, nothing. Last month, after complaining again of lack of communication, I recieved an interim letter. This was not the minuted account of the meeting that had been promised or a list of actions agreed at the meeting but a letter saying absolutely nothing of relevance. It is now almost seven months since that meeting and the only recourse I feel I have is to contact my MP as NHSGGC are not responding. I wonder how many others have suffered the same as I did in the interim.

I started out wishing only to make a difference for those patients coming behind me. I feel I have now been treated with such contempt from NHSGGC that my altruism has turned to anger. If this had been dealt with appropriately and timeously this would not have happened. I can understand why the public feel that they must resort to trial by press when the NHS treat even the well intentioned in such a manner.

I would also like to point out that although there are some very good support programmes for patients eg., cancer sufferers, these systems are non-existent for some other NHS users who are just as deserving. It feels as if there is no equity and equality obvious in the apportioning of resources for crucial support. In my case I was in severe pain for many months and I feel my desperate requests for help fell on deaf ears. It seems to me that pain services are woefully under-resourced and I feel that pain is not considered important. Have the holders of the purse strings ever suffered chronic pain? I think that this would change their attitude.

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Response from Paul Cannon, Head of Administration, Acute Services Division, Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS

Thank you for sharing your experience. I was very sorry to read your remarks about your interactions with the complaints staff, but without further details I cannot really comment any further, suffice to say I would be very keen to look into these comments further. It is not typical of the responses provided by our complaints staff and I would like the opportunity to address your concerns. I was also very saddened to read your experience of the services provided to you generally.

I would be very grateful if you could email me at complaints@ggc.scot.nhs.uk and ask that it is passed to me for my attention. I will look into your case personally.

I look forward to hearing from you.


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