"Waiting time for our son's surgery"
About: Royal Hospital for Sick Children (Yorkhill) / Ear, Nose & Throat Royal Hospital for Sick Children (Yorkhill) Ear, Nose & Throat G3 8SJ
Posted by JAS20 (as ),
I am writing this , on behalf of my 4 year old son.
Following meetings with Speech and Language, Specialist Children’s Services, with our son, my husband and myself requested that a referral should be made to check our son’s hearing. In March 2019, we were told that a referral for Ear, Nose and Throat had been made. Aware that waiting lists within the NHS are long, we waited with great patience. This was a wait of approximately 8 months.
After chasing this up, we were informed by Speech & Language in November 2019 that the referral had not been processed properly. Approximately an hour after this call, S&L phoned my husband back , stating that they had emailed Audiology in March, to request that our son required an assessment of his hearing. However, after writing to the Head of Paediatric Audiology regarding this, I received a voicemail on 6th December 2019 stating that the referral from S&L, dated 22nd March 2019 was never received by the Paediatric Audiology department.
It is then stated that S&L contacted the department in November 2019, asking why there had been no appointment given. We were then told, due to the amount of time we had been waiting, that the department was able to offer us a cancellation appointment at the end of November and that our son had now been referred onto ENT. Audiologists diagnosed mild to moderate hearing loss measured within the sound field and suspected that he had glue ear. Again, due to the time we had been waiting, they managed to get us an appointment with ENT, Clinic 7 Outpatients, to see a consultant. The consultant assessed our son and said that he would require Grommets and Adenoid surgery.
We were then contacted by the Waiting List co-ordinator in December, to inform us that our son was on the waiting list for surgery, however there would be a minimum of 3 months waiting time but it could be longer. I felt that this was a very generic letter that did not take into consideration the time that my son had already been waiting. I decided to state my concerns in a letter of response which was addressed to the Waiting List Co-ordinator and was sent under the ‘Next day delivery’ service in December 2019. Again, mindful of the Christmas and New Year period, I waited patiently for a reply. After waiting over 4 weeks, I decided to phone the waiting list co-ordinator, on the number provided on the letter. I explained my son’s situation and they were unable to help but they were able to give me the number of their complaints line. I phoned this and spoke to a waiting list co-ordinator, whom was aware of the letter I had sent. They said that a reply had been sent out in early January. I have yet to receive this reply.
On talking to her and explaining the situation, she told me that the Speech and Language, Specialist Children’s Services were independent of the hospital. Given that the S&L letters are headed with an ‘NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’ logo, it gave us the impression that S&L were working in partnership with the hospital or at very least the NHS?? However , apparently not and therefore they had to go with the referral date that was given by the QEUH in December 2019, as opposed to the original date in March 2019. Furthermore, I was then told that the current waiting time is now 15 months! How is this fair on my 4 year old son, who has been waiting this whole time???
I explained that my son has experienced difficulty with communication at nursery, as a result of his hearing impairment and given that he is due to start school this August, we need our son to be fitted with temporary hearing aids until he is given surgery(as was previously discussed with audiology). The waiting list co-ordinator emailed the Head of paediatric Audiology, to ask them to contact me. I have yet to hear from them.
This has been an extremely stressful and anxious wait where my son has suffered terribly from multiple ear infections. Chasing this up with emails, letters and phone calls has been very time-consuming and costly, when we have ensured mail is sent with the ‘Next Day Delivery’ service.
Our aim now is to get our son appointed for surgery at a time when he *should* have been, according to our original referral date and ensure that he is fitted with temporary hearing aids as a matter of urgency. Right now, we do not know who to turn to next, for the help our son needs.