"Pain management problems"

About: St Bartholomew's Hospital / Pain Management The London Chest Hospital / Respiratory medicine The Royal London Hospital / Respiratory medicine

(as a relative),

My husband was taken into ICU with pneumonia over Easter. My praise and thanks to the nurses and doctors at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and the continuing care he received at the London Chest Hospital. All the emergency treatment and follow up has been of the highest order with one notable exception.

He has been left with some considerable pain in his foot due to possible nerve damage as the result of sedation. He is unable to walk properly and is often in a great deal of pain.

At my prompting the GP referred us to the local pain management clinic - it took them over two weeks to even acknowledge they had the referral, another week of daily calls to get a response that the referral had been passed to the foot health clinic, nearly another week for them to acknowledge they had the referral and as far as I can find out an appointment won't be arranged until July at the earliest.

As anyone who has ever suffered any chronic pain will tell you this is dramatically affecting the quality of our family life. I'm pretty sure what he has is not life threatening but if it is not sorted out soon he is in real danger of doing further damage to the muscles in his leg and his back (due to method by which he has to walk to cope with pain). How can something so important as pain management be so poorly run and so short staffed that it takes a clinician over two weeks to read a letter from the GP and see 'foot' and pass on the letter to the right department? I'm sure the staff on reception for these services must be sick of hearing my voice as I call yet again to find out if there has been any progress.

As the GP did this via 'Choose and Book' the disappointment we have experienced in getting any sort of assistance has been quite high. If you are less vocal and less able to make your needs known I despair of how long one would have to wait to hear from this service, as to date I've only gotten a response from my calls and not once have we had any acknowledgement of the referral.

I have no idea who the 'right' NHS manager would be to hear my concerns but would welcome the opportunity to explain to them - in person or writing - how frustrating and difficult this has been.

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