"I thought I was on the waiting list"

About: Charing Cross Hospital / Ear, Nose and Throat

(as the patient),

I needed an ear surgery (Stapedectomy) to improve my hearing on the right ear. I have done the usual procedures, like contacting my GP and she referring me to a local NHS hospital (Charing Cross Hospital) in west London.

As I went through the same procedures more than ten years with my left ear, and as someone who investigated the condition meticulously over the years, I knew that the surgery can improve my hearing and I no longer wanted to use a hearing aid.

But, on the first out-patient appointment, a registrar suggested exactly that. 'get a NEW hearing aid and get on with it'. After three months they will review again. I played along and in my next appointment I told the registrar that I want the surgery. I knew that the junior doctors are not in a position to put anyone on a surgery waiting list without a consultant approval. This doctor went out to discuss my case with the consultant for ten minutes. He came back and said OK. But first I need to have a CT scan of my ears. It is called IAM (Internal Auditory Meatus).

I thought the scan was unnecessary but again played along. At least I was on the waiting list. So I thought. Had the scan a few weeks later and waited for a letter to turn up from the hospital. After a YEAR, nothing. Fourteen months, nothing.

My patience run out. I phoned the patients liaison office and they took my details. After a week of phoning back and forth, I was told that I was NEVER put on the waiting list. I was supposed to make another appointment after the scan to discuss my case further. It was an unnecessary scan in the first place and I was going to discuss unnecessary scan results, just to get on to the waiting list. What a lot of nonsense.

I think they knew exactly what they were doing. It seems to me that putting patients on the waiting list does not depend on the clinical need nowadays, as the NHS founding principle suggest, It is managing the waiting list, or making it look good on the statistics. So, do not bother with non-emergency cases. Just make them disappear or delay them getting on the waiting list with endless out-patient appointment.

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Response from Charing Cross Hospital

Imperial College Heathcare NHS Trust is sorry to hear that you were dissatisfied with our services. We apologise if it was not made clear to you that the consultant would only put you on a waiting list for a procedure following a review of your test results. If you wish to discuss the situation further please contact the PALS service again pals@imperial.nhs.uk

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Response from Christine Cornell, PALS manager, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is sorry to hear that you were dissatisfied with your care at Charing Cross Hospital. We apologise if it was not made clear to you that you would only be placed on a waiting list by the doctor after a review of your test results and discussion with regard to all the treatment options for your condition.

If you would like to take things further please contact the Patient Advice & Liaison Service again pals@imperial.nhs.uk and I will be happy to speak with you.

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