"Non-existent Specialist Pain Control"

About: Royal Preston Hospital

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I was admitted to Chorley & South Ribble District Hospital on 9th January 2013 for a total knee replacement surgery. I had a predisposition to cellulitis, of which I had made the hospital fully aware.

On my pre-operative appointment with the anaesthetist, I made it very clear that my body is resistant to tablet form analgesia, also to cannula administered analgesia. I have had many pain problems over the years because of this resistance to analgesia, but you wouldn't believe the resistance the medical profession have to this condition. Usually I'm told, very patronisingly, that what I really mean is that I'm overly nervous about pain. My response these days is that if I'm going to be patronised I'll happily go elsewhere.... Unfortunately on this occasion this wasn't an option as I've been waiting for two and a half painful years for this procedure!

I was reassured that notes had been made to my file concerning my post-operative pain management and that I should have no problems there.

Unfortunately, post operatively, nothing could have been further from the truth and I complained vigorously that the cannula administered pain medication was having little effect and that I was in considerable pain. Every 12 hours I was receiving Oxycontin tablet medication 'to the assigned protocol levels appropriate for you'. I responded by telling then that whatever the book said about my pain management, it wasn't working.

I was then told that they would first put me on a PCA pump and then if that didn't work they'd get a specialist pain nurse to visit me.

Well, the pain pump didn't work because all it would let me have was the 'protocol maximum'. I has also getting from time to time Paracetamol administered via my saline drip.

The staff began to get a little annoyed with me because according to their 'cast in stone' protocols my pain wasn't coming under control. By now, you can add constipation to my discomfort.

On the Ward, the Specialist Pain Nurse was hinted at several times, but never actually appeared. I was discharged on Monday 14th January 2013 early afternoon - but then there was the usual interminable wait for discharge drugs from the pharmacy so that in fact I didn't leave the hospital until 6.45 p.m. Just after lunch I had been asked, again if I still wanted to see the the Specialist Pain Nurse?

When I answered yes, I was told that in that case I couldn't be discharged until possibly Tuesday early evening and when I asked the reason why I was told that she was a very busy nurse and had a lot of people to see when she came to this hospital! The reason being that the Specialist Pain department is based at the Royal Preston Hospital and 'only gets here twice a week'!

I'm baffled - given the amount of major surgery that takes place at Chorley and South Ribble District Hospital, how do they rationalise that 'two days a week' ?

I won't be returning to this hospital again!

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