"Neurology Department Shambles. Switcboard Rude"

About: Colchester General Hospital

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In march of this year I visited the Neurology dept as some of my medication had been making me worse. ( left temporal lobe epilepsy with complications) I had a very good check up with my consultant who decided to change one of my meds. In June I stated feeling very ill. The stress at work felt worse and my body stated to ache. My right hand being the worse. The signs pointed to Carpel tunnel in my hand. Then one night I went home in agony to find my ankles nearly tripled in size. And I felt like I was bloating. I am a dispenser so checked the side effects of new tablets given by consultant. Not only were they of the same family of the previous one I'd been on but some of the effects I was feeling " could" have come from new ones. After several weeks of sickness being told I'm getting big because it's a family trait, oh you put thing try this cream and get back to work, and several blood tests. I was told my Red and White cells were very low but according to one Gp still ok to work with sick people coming at me all day. The night the results came back and I'd been told to go back to work my own Gp rang me stating that my Sodium Levels had dropped very low and hence my illness. Come off the new tablets and see Neurologist. I tried for several hours to try and get an appointment at CGH to be told they were too busy. Even after I had told them off my predicament not interested no appointments. Told GP who called faxed and e-mailed the department several times before getting any results. It's now Nov, 28th Oct I was diagnosed with Fybromyalgia and they would have to speak to Neurologist before putting me on stronger pain relief. I called the department today as I have heard nothing back, only to be told that all the Secretaries are on annual leave at the Dame time. That should never happen anywhere especially a hospital. The people on the switchboard were rude and unhelpful. They kept putting me through to the same 2 Secretaries until I mentioned at fourth atempt I was getting no where, and was told well you won't they're all on annual leave. When I asked why I couldn't have been told that before she stated I must have asked in a way they didn't understand! She tried again and put me through to s holidaying Secretary. Now it's gone over nearly 3 months from when I should have had my usual check up. And since being off sick for 21 weeks, the neurologist couldn't be bothered to see me, no emergency or cancellations were offered I called to let them know about my Fybromyalgia 3 weeks ago and she offered me an appointment there and then. Would I have got it if I hadn't have rung. .. no. Could my illness have been spotted sooner Yes. Could be have helped very much so. NOTE. I rang today to see if they had the letter from the Rheumatologist. Now I will have to wait another week or so to find out. This department I used to praise I now hate the thought of going there. Rude and unhelpful!

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Response from Colchester General Hospital

I apologise you’ve not had a good patient experience. We try really hard to improve our services based on the comments we receive from our patients, their relatives or carers. We would like the opportunity to discuss your experiences more fully and to apologise in person. If you are willing I would appreciate it if I could ask the matron to contact you. Could you email me, using the reference “Neurology at RDEE4-Colchester General Hospital at 19/11/2013 15:12:18”, please? Many thanks Paul Searle, Head of Communications Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust info@colchesterhospital.nhs.uk

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