"Painful and frustrating and very painful."

About: University Hospital Of North Durham

What I liked

The waiting are is friendly and a nice mix of different characters from a number of different ages and disciplines and that makes the department more holistic in its approach to the patients. Receptions staff are generally friendly considering they have to deal with some difficult situations.

What could be improved

One of the greatest problems when a patient with ENT problems is that often all three are involved and it becomes difficult , over time, to keep identifying areas of pain. I have a number of pain issues in other areas but ENT pain seems to be the most distressing at times. One of my main frustrations is that at any time a consultant looking at the nose will only see a problem that exists during the daytime, which for me is not too much of an issue although painful, it is at night when the main difficulty arises and so there is a mismatch in the condition. I know during the day I use all the techniques that ENT have suggested and have done so now for over three years and can deal with it. But when you try to sleep at night waking night after night even if you can get asleep in the first place the nose and ears generally run a person down. Then at night waking dry throated because you have psychologically woken yourself up or learnt to breathe through the mouth dry and in pain the Dr can never see this. And it becomes very hard to explain it without evidence. Snoring affects relationships it affects even the dogs!! they get up and go sleep in another room too!!! but most of all it makes a person down and depressed. All general medical disciplines seem to, regretfully, not take into account the mental situation and sleep deprivation and pain and upsetting others is part of the whole picture.

When you have been through all the tests all the scans , had the one sleep study and still nothing can be done it is severely debilitating to now have to accept that you have to live with it. It becomes a chronic illness. . I wake in the morning unable to open my eyes because of the pressure that builds up alongside the nose. When you can seemingly get no long term remedy the case is closed. For three years now I have crisp packets still in my ears, I snort like a pig trying to remove mucous so i can breathe sound like a pig and often squeal like a pig in pain.

Anything else?

The issue I feel needs addressing is the decision to close a case. The patient here is worn out and has gone through all the hoops how can they then say ...no you cannot close the case nothing is sorted. I know the NHS has to cut costs but one sleep study is not enough a series of them have to be done to see a range of nights. The Dr is not always the one who can decide when to close a case. Video diaries might be a better way of seeing what is happening. Acupuncture might help relive the problems. A more general approach involving other disciplines such as diet and pain management might be more useful. But noses ears and throats leave me isolated and in pain still and there seems no way to get this message across in such rapid 5 min consultations.

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Response from University Hospital Of North Durham

Dear Mr Gurney,

Thank you for providing feedback on your experience of Pain Management Services at University Hospital North Durham.

Whilst I am pleased to hear that you are happy with the staff in the department, I am sorry to note that you have concerns regarding the way your condition is being medically managed and monitored.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your concerns with you. If you feel this would be useful please contact the Trust’s Patient Experience Team on 0800 7835774. If you would prefer to contact us by e-mail, our address is complaints@cddft.nhs.uk

Alternatively, you can write to us at the following address: -

Patient Experience Team

Darlington Memorial Hospital

Hollyhurst Road


County Durham


If you do decide to contact us, please make us aware that you have left comments on the NHS Choices website.

The Trust is grateful for all feedback, positive or negative, as it means we can better understand what is important to our patients.

Thank you for leaving your comments on NHS Choices.

Patient Experience Team

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

Tel: 0800 7835774