"Gall Stones, Gallbladder, waiting times"

About: Rotherham Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a relative),

Following an emergency admission my mother-in-law was referred in early october for a gallbladder removal operation. Within a few weeks she had a pre- op assessment, which made the family think that she would have her procedure sometime soon. Silly us!

Just before Xmas she was admitted again as an emergency - she's asked me to pass on her thanks to the staff on ward B5 who looked after her very well. They couldn't operate on her as she had an infection, which they treated, and then discharged her with advice from the doctors that she would receive an appointment for her op in 4-6 weeks time (apparently because of the infection she couldn't be operated on any sooner).

Earlier this week the hospital contacted her offering a cancellation slot for this week. As this was sooner than the 4-6 weeks post infection period this offer could not be accepted. Today she has been contacted for yet another pre-op assessment appointment, has been advised that the list is full and that she shouldn't have been told that an appointment would be given within 4-6 weeks after discharge. She is now back to square one, with no idea of how much longer she will have to wait, confused about the conflicting advice that staff representing the hospital have given her (when are staff going to realise that when they talk to patients they are doing so on behalf of the organisation and should not be simply giving a personal viewpoint? ), and extremely worried that if she doesn't have her op soon the cycle of emergency admission will start all over again.

Surely there is a more efficient way of running such a service? I'm sure her experience is not different to that of many patients, yet no one seems to care about the worry and inconvenience this brings to patients and their families (not to mention the huge waste of tax payers' money). I would have thought that with the spotlights so firmly on the future of Rotherham hospital and its staff that more effort would have been made to provide a slick service valued by Rotherham patients.

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Responses

Response from Grace Oldfield, Patient Involvement Manager, Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Ozziesmum, thank you for taking the time to post the experience of your mother-in-law and for your positive comments in relation to the care she received from the staff on Ward B5.

I am however concerned to read of your mother-in-law’s experience following her discharge and please pass on my sincere apologies to her for creating such confusion and further anxiety. If she would like me to take forward her concerns then please contact our Patient Services department on 01709 424461 who will be more than happy to discuss these concerns and her on-going care needs.

With kind regards,

Grace

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Update posted by ozziesmum (a relative)

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my story, its great to know that you are accessing patient views from this site.

I do think you missed the point of the story though. This was not an attempt to bump my mother-in-law up the waiting list or to solely resolve her issue, but to highlight to you what patients in general are experiencing.

I would have preferred a response outlining how the hospital intends to improve its communication processes in general, rather than a standard response given by so many hospitals of 'please contact us to discuss this one example of a less than satisfactory service'.

Response from Grace Oldfield, Patient Involvement Manager, Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Ozziesmum,

Thank you for providing further feedback and I sincerely apologise if you feel that I had interpreted your comments as an attempt to ‘bump’ your mother-in-law up the waiting list as that was certainly not my intention.

I can assure you that we do have communication processes in place and whilst some variances experienced can relate to a failure of the system / process, it is more often how individual staff behaves that is the most significant feature. This is why we ask for you to contact us, if you wish, as this gives us the opportunity to investigate your individual circumstances by identifying the departments and therefore the individuals involved in order to provide them with specific feedback. Whilst you did highlight the pre-assessment service, it is possible that some of the interactions were with other departments.

With regard to our Trust wide communication processes; our Patient Experience Strategy – ‘Every Interaction Counts’ sets out what we are doing to improve every patient’s experience (as detailed below) and a significant part of this is getting accurate communication right every time. It appears that the 4-6 weeks’ timescale your mother-in-law was given for her anticipated operation was not an accurate reflection of the waiting time for surgery and this will be fed back to surgical teams who undertake gall bladder surgery. Every member of staff, regardless of job title, has a part to play in making the patient’s experience the best possible, as in every interaction we have the opportunity to increase or decrease the public’s confidence in our services. Clearly we have failed to achieve a positive experience for you and your mother-in-law for which I apologise.

We have previously undertaken workshops with large groups of staff from all disciplines to raise their awareness of ‘How they are’ with patient’s, members of the public and colleagues. We continue to utilise these workshops as our experience shows us that we cannot teach / train staff how to be with people, as this can appear disingenuous; we therefore prefer to raise awareness and provide staff with practical skills that will make them stop and think about how they portray themselves to patient’s and members of the public, who when coming to hospital feel very vulnerable. Through working with Managers we can assist them to ensure openness and that their staff impact positively on patient’s experience and how they can challenge unacceptable behaviours when raised.

We are continuing this work through our Corporate Induction process for all new starters and through bespoke workshops with each directorate so that we reach existing staff who we may not have attended a workshop before or who need reminding of the importance of this work. We are also reinforcing our ‘Every Interaction Counts’ philosophy through our recently launched ‘dignity and respect’ DVD that staff can access and which highlights how important getting accurate communication right first time is for patients’.

I hope I have given you some assurance that as a hospital we do have processes and on-going work to improve communication.

Kind regards

Grace

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