"Radiotherapy/ Oncology"

About: Ipswich Hospital

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My father is currently under the care of the oncology department for lung cancer, today we had an appointment to start radiotherapy. As usual the wait to see his consultant was over an hour - and the consultation lasted 10 mins. My father was already in considerable pain, as the cancer has apparently caused disc damage to his neck, and following this uncomfortable wait had to lay flat for 30 minutes whilst the radiotherapy department scanned him and marked him up for treatment. The reason this took much longer than it should have done was due to the fact the staff were then unable to find the consultant who had ordered the radiotherapy to confirm what areas he wished to use radiotherapy on. During this time my father repeatedly told the staff he was in a lot of pain but they simply continued to tell him to wait, by the time he came back to the waiting room he was in tears and wasn't aware whether he was having treatment or not. I approached the staff to enquire and was told he was due to have radiotherapy today, I then informed them he was crying with pain and would not be having any treatment until he had received morphine which he had been px and was being prepared in the pharmacy. I went to collect the morphine and on my return was informed that he was not having radiotherapy today, a "mistake" had been made and he now has to return tomorrow. Since leaving the hospital he remains in considerable pain and is reluctant to return.

Given the nature of the illness patients are dealing with in both oncology and radiotherapy I would have thought staff at all levels would have been considerate to the needs of the patients, particularly those in pain, but it does not appear to be the case. The pain my father has been experiencing was exacerbated by the professionals who are supposed to be helping.

Ordinarily I would not complain about having to wait to see the consultant/ dr etc, as on every occasion we have visited oncology since my father's diagnosis in October 2011 we have had to wait anywhere from 1 -3 hours to be seen, however today my father ended up in considerable distress as a result of waiting. It's not acceptable.

I am still trying to ring Ipswich hospital's complaint department, however they have not been answering the phones....

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Response from Ipswich Hospital

We are very sorry that you and your father have had a difficult and disappointing experience of care. Our patient advice and liaison team which includes complaints can be reached immediately on 01473 704781 and 01473 703797. or you can email them directly on advice.complaints@ipswichhospital.nhs.uk.

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