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"Cancelled operations.."

About: Derriford Hospital / Thoracic surgery

(as the patient),

I had lung cancer two years ago and recently they discovered a spot on my lung which needs to be removed.  I went to my pre-assessment appointment and then travelled the 60 miles again with my 75 year old husband for the actual operation.  My room was like a prison cell, the bed was like a table, thin sheets only and damp flat pillows, so uncomfortable.  My husband had booked into the lodge for the time and we put our pet dog into kennels.

The next morning the nurse asked me to shower and to put on the stockings for surgery and change into my nightdress which I did.  When I came out of the shower room the bed had been remade so I couldn't use it, I had no choice but to sit in the uncomfortable hair.  It was 7.30 am.  About ten people came in and out to see me, as they do, explaining the procedure and anaesthetic etc.  Then the surgeon and a nurse came in and told me I had to go home there was no bed available for me so they could not operate.

I am 73, my husband is 75 this was the first time in our married life we had spent the night apart.  It was stressful and upsetting.  We had paid £100 for the lodge and £35 for the kennels plus fuel money.  It isn't just about the cost though and I am not one to complain but this was an awful time.  We couldn't drive home immediately as I saw my husband was too upset to drive and I didn't want him to have a motor accident.

This has happened again, I was admitted, had x-rays which was rushed and when I asked for help I was made to feel like a child, no kindness was shown, no direction, instruction or empathy.  I had to do a lung breathing test which I had recently passed 100% at my own hospital.  Why don't they share this information? But I was sent home again due to bed shortage.

I am being admitted again this week and am hoping it is a case of third time lucky.   

My surgeon is also frustrated as he feels he cannot do his job due to the cuts and lack of beds.

As i said i don't like to complain at all but this is just so frustrating, upsetting and stressful waiting, travelling and not knowing when or if my operation will be.


Response from Alison Stanton, Complaints and PALS Manager, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust 15 months ago
Alison Stanton
Complaints and PALS Manager,
University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
Submitted on 02/02/2020 at 09:03
Published on Care Opinion at 09:03

picture of Alison Stanton

I am so very sorry to hear about your experience.

Unfortunately, we do not have an email address for you, and are unable to identify the ward you were admitted to or the consultant who was providing your care.

If you would like to get in touch with us, either by email at or by telephone on 01752 439884, we can then look into the concerns that you have raised.

Alternatively, if you are in the hospital at any point, you can find us on Level 7 in the Patient Services Office.

I do hope that your operation went ahead as planned and if so, that you are now recovering well.

Kind regards


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Response from Alison Stanton, Complaints and PALS Manager, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust 15 months ago
Alison Stanton
Complaints and PALS Manager,
University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
Submitted on 14/02/2020 at 12:58
Published on Care Opinion at 12:58

picture of Alison Stanton

Michelle Tremblett, Support Manager for the Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery Service Line, has since responded to say:

I am very sorry that your Thoracic Surgery operation was cancelled twice. Unfortunately, we have had some issues with our Level 1 capacity, which are our high observation beds, due to emergency and trauma admissions requiring a longer stay in these beds. Hopefully your surgery has now been carried out and you are recovering well. I am sorry that you felt that the room you were put into the night before your surgery was uncomfortable for which we apologise. I would like to reassure you that we are in the next two months, opening up another level bay so hopefully this will decrease the number of cancellations our patients experience.

Kind regards


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