"poor treatment of an elderly blind lady recently diagnosed with bowel cancer"

About: Leicester General Hospital / General surgery

(as a relative),

Despite pre-op assessments in December 12, my mother-in law, who is frail, elderly and blind, went through a very vigorous and unpleasant 3 day pre op procedure prior to having an ileostomy in early January, only to be told 30 mins or so before she was due to have the operation, that her iron levels were too low to proceed. Since her original symptoms revolved around anaemia, we were astounded that this had not been specifically checked at the pre op assessment. If this had happened, she could have been alerted to the problem and put on iron tablets over Xmas, allowing the op to proceed as planned. Alternatively, a further blood test could have been carried out after a period of time on iron tablets. Either way, in my opinion the pre op procedure would have been avoided.

We raised this with the hospital, merely asking if they could explain what had gone wrong and assure us that it would not happen again. They chose to take this as a complaint, but did not agree a complaint plan with us. We were offered a meeting with the consultant, but not until mid Feb. We asked if this would hold up her treatment and were assured that the planned treatment would not be delayed by the investigation.

Having heard nothing about a further appointment (expected 2-3 weeks from her discharge in early Jan), we contacted the hospital, only to be told that there would be no appointment until after we had met with the consultant. In other words, treatment had been delayed because of the complaint, despite assurances to the contrary.

In my opinion a number of CQC standards/outcomes have been compromised in this episode of "care", which is totally unacceptable. We are no further forward in terms of understanding what went wrong. The complaints process has not been properly followed and my mother in law is being disadvantaged because we raised the issue and is left with the prospect of a further, very undignified pre-op procedure with no assurance that the same errors will not recur.

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Responses

Response from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

I am deeply sorry for the miscommunication that has left you feeling confused and anxious about your mother-in-law’s care.

I can say emphatically that your complaint has had absolutely no effect on the care of your mother-in-law. Any concerns raised about care in our hospitals in no way disadvantage patients or the future care they receive.

The Consultant Surgeon (Mr Scott) is currently on holiday so is unable to speak to you to answer your specific queries, however if you would like to call my colleague Michelle Wain on 0116 258 5999 and leave your telephone number I will call you back.

Kind regards,

Julia Ball, Divisional Head of Nursing for Planned Care

Response from Leicester General Hospital

I am deeply sorry for the miscommunication that has left you feeling confused and anxious about your mother-in-law’s care. I can say emphatically that your complaint has had absolutely no effect on the care of your mother-in-law. Any concerns raised about care in our hospitals in no way disadvantage patients or the future care they receive. Since you posted this concern we have met with you and your family to discuss your concerns and your mother-in-laws care. However if you still have concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me - julia.ball@uhl-tr.nhs.uk Kind regards, Julia Ball, Divisional Head of Nursing for Planned Care

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