"Treatment by a consultant - poor administration and communication"

About: Mile End Hospital / Rheumatology Newham General Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I have had a deteriorating knee for some time, having injured it when a small boy. As an adult it became sore and so I was referred to a knee specialist by my GP practice.

X-rays revealed a knee intact but a further MRI scan revealed a wearing shape in the cartilage area. It 'locks' and so it was considered there may be a 'flip tear' that catches when sticking out.

To cut a long story shorter, in which I had been told by one consultant that there was noting wrong, I gained a second opinion and was seen by a knee specialist at the Mile End hospital in London. The specialist informed me that he would see me to do an exploratory operation.

The appointment was at Newham Hospital in London. On arrival, all was okay, I was explained what the operation would involve by the physiotherapist. When the consultant appeared, he told me I was down for two operations. One for my knee and one to break a bone in my foot to realign the bone. I informed him that I didn't need this to which he said 'are you sure?'

This made me feel uncomfortable and I asked for this to be removed. Dressed for the operation, he returned to inform me that the consultant who was due to operate on me was at a conference in Glasgow, so the operation would not take place. I was annoyed both having been told about an operation on a list that was not needed but also that a there should be both a basic diary failing. Who is talking to who here? In addition, I had psychologically prepared myself, which left me partly relieved that I wasn't having the operation but now I still faced having it in the future.

Forward wind, and I am back at Newham hospital. The consultant is here and the operation is taking place but I am still down for a broken foot operation that I do not need. He marks my left knee and reassures me my foot will not be broken.

The anaesthetist is great, the operation is over and my foot is intact. I wake and moved to the ward. The ward nurse sees me and says the consultant surgeon has left. So what happened to my knee? What did they find? What if anything was done?

I left the hospital unsure of what I shouldn't or shouldn't do. Recovery time? I went online and downloaded post operative exercises for building the muscle. After a few phone calls and research I found the consultant's email. I asked him what he had done to my knee and he replied with 'I do not correspond with my NHS patients.'

Naturally the worst of this was that I wouldn't have needed to if he had stayed around to tell me what he had done to me. Subsequent follow up led me to find out that I have arthritis in my knee and nothing much can be done about that, he said, and that I will be in a lot of pain in five years.

I am inclined to believe him, but such behaviour leads me to think is there more he can do or is it that as a NHS patient he won't? His attitude was appalling. Either way, the whole experience was unpleasant.

The staff were wonderful, the NHS is marvellous, but basic administration does not cost.

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