"Terrible treatment and misdiagnosis"

About: Borders General Hospital / Planned Surgical Admissions Unit Western General Hospital / Gastroenterology

(as the patient),

I went to my GP with symptoms of bowel cancer and was referred to Borders General Hospital (BGH) in May 2019. 

The team at NHS Borders decided to downgrade me from urgent as per guidelines for suspected cancer to routine before any tests or examinations were carried out.
I believe BGH was struggling to meet waiting list targets for operations due to being under stress from the winter vomiting virus. 
I think that was their reason to downgrade me and they then were able to prolong my appointments for tests and to actually see any clinician. 
I had my first test 7 weeks after my GP referral. The test was carried out on a Sunday as they were trying to catch up, notably my test was carried out by a locum who in the report diagnosed probable cancer, urgent and suitable to be treated within 4 weeks using key hole surgery (which BGH can't do so is referred to their joint team at Western General Hospital (WGH) in Edinburgh).
 If I Had been treated for suspected cancer (which I have) then I should have been treated within. 62 days of my GP referral and not the more than six months it eventually took. 
Again NHS Borders appear to have ignored the advice of a fellow clinician. 
I was not seen for over three weeks at BGH and was told again that my lesion as they called it may be suitable for key hole surgery! They decided in agreement with the team at WGH to refer me to WGH, ie I did not ask for that it was two clinical teams who referred me.
I was not seen until late September some four months after my GP referral. 
Crucially that appointment was four days after I was made redundant by my employer because I could not give any information or a return to work date. 
I have had no apology or sympathy for the fact that I lost my job as a result of  their clinical decisions and lack any information other that dates for the appointments related to my condition. 
I was re-examined and the clinician (at WGH) stated they thought they themselves could carry out key hole surgery but had no operating slots until at least the end of November. 
Two weeks later BGH cancer nurse (why a cancer nurse if as I have been told that they thought they were dealing with polyps?) phoned to say I would need to have a larger operation at BGH and an appointment would be made.
I went to an appointment at BGH almost two weeks later (having taken bowel preparation for expected examination only to be told I was being referred back to WGH again!)
 You can imagine that I was very frustrated by all of the delays and back and forth and that I had lost my job because of the length of time it had taken up until then. 
(some 19 weeks after GP referral) Guidelines state maximum of 18 weeks referral to treatment and I still had no idea when my treatment would be. 
I then waited again to see the clinician at WGH  in late November six months after GP referral only to be accused of refusing an operation at BGH when I went in October. 
This is utterly false and I have had no apology for that. 
I have made a complaint about this to NHS Borders however their final decision is that I caused my delays and I chose to have the operation at WGH. 
Again that is absolutely false. 
So my treatment by BGH, WGH, NHS Borders (and the team at WGH) has been nothing short of a nightmare and they still claim I decided to have one operation over another when I am sure this is their excuse to cover up that they misdiagnosed me or downgraded me. 
Bottom line. Yes I do have cancer I have No job because of them, I have absolutely no faith or trust in any one involved outwith my GP. 
I expect this not to be published but if it is, what I would tell every patient who is referred to that BGH team is that I wish I had made sure I had a witness with me during appointments and also recorded them.


Response from Steven Litster, Clinical Service Manager - Planned Care & Commissioning, NHS Borders last month
Steven Litster
Clinical Service Manager - Planned Care & Commissioning,
NHS Borders
Submitted on 15/05/2020 at 13:00
Published on Care Opinion at 14:07

I'm very sorry that you were unhappy with our response to your complaint. If you wish this to be reviewed, this can be raised with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) by emailing ask@spso.gov.scot.

  • Jobless cancer patient doesn't think this response is helpful
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Response from Sarah Horan, Associate Director of Nursing & Head of Midwifery, NHS Borders last month
Sarah Horan
Associate Director of Nursing & Head of Midwifery,
NHS Borders
Submitted on 15/05/2020 at 16:40
Published on Care Opinion at 16:40

Dear Jobless Cancer Patient

I am glad that your story has been shared, that is the very purpose of Care Opinion, to give patients and service users the opportunity to be able to share what their own personal experience is.

What I am not glad about is how you are feeling and the experiences that you have described in so much detail, it cant have been easy to write this down. Thank you for your honesty..

I would like to be able to speak directly to you, could you call me on 01896 826709. If I am not at my desk please leave a message with how to contact you.

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Response from Jeannette Morrison, Head of Patient Experience, NHS Lothian last month
Jeannette Morrison
Head of Patient Experience,
NHS Lothian
Submitted on 18/05/2020 at 13:11
Published on Care Opinion at 13:11

Dear Jobless cancer patient

Thank you for sharing your feedback with us and l am really sorry to read of your difficulties, it sounds a though this has been a really difficult and frustrating time for you.

If you would like us look into this further for you please can you contact the Patient Experience Team as we will need some further details from you.

Please can I reassure you that the senior team at the Western General Hospital will have seen your feedback and I am sure, like me, will be saddened to read your feedback.

The email address for the team is: feedback@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk

I do hope that we can help.

With kind regards


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