"Operation cancelled"

About: Maidstone District General Hospital / General surgery

(as a relative),

My father was due to have laser operation at the beginning of December. I had to have him at Maidstone hospital very early that day. It is hard to get someone in their 80s there at that kind of time especially having to pick him up from 10 miles away. We went for pre-assessment the week before and was told all was well for the following week.

We arrived on the day and presented the letter to receptionist, who then said my fathers operation had been cancelled. She said someone was meant to call you. I replied "Well clearly I didn' t get the call, otherwise I would not be standing here." It turned out that my father had been booked on the wrong day. The surgery taking place that day was for cataracts and not laser. We were told by the head nurse that she would find out what went wrong and would rush to get my dads operation day asap.

My father has been in lot of pain. This week my dad was in more pain so I rang the hospital to find out when he would be likely to be having his operation. I was surprised when they said he is down to have his operation late this week. When I said "I have received no letter" I was made to feel like a liar. I then had to ask what they had him down for and the guy said cataracts removed. I replied "No he has had them done. He is waiting for some kind of laser." I was put on hold whilst he investigated, he came back to say he was sorry but the letter may have been delayed in the post because of Christmas. My impression from the change in his tone of voice was that the letter hadn't been sent.

I am now having to ring up each day to check that all is on for my dad's operation late this week. Although I appreciate that the NHS staff do a wonderful job and are over-worked especially with all the cutbacks, I feel that important things like communication between the NHS and patient is a big problem. Had I not used my intuition and made that call this week, I would have been none the wiser and would have missed his operation date.

How many others has this happened to? Would the NHS have been more understanding towards the patient had they missed an appointment or operation when it wasn't their fault but the NHS'? I don't think so.

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Response from Maidstone District General Hospital

Firstly we are extremely sorry to hear of the experiences you and your father had both at Maidstone Hospital and when telephoning the appointments team. Unfortunately, we have only just been made aware of your comments via this website. Please do contact us at mtwpals@nhs.net or call us on 01622 224960 if this situation has not been resolved with regards to your father's operation or if you would like to discuss any aspect of your experience in further detail. If your father has now had his operation, we do hope that he is recovering well. Kind regards Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (SG)

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