"Concern for a friend's repeatadly cancelled opperation"

About: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary / General Surgery Balfour Hospital / Trauma & orthopaedics

(as a friend),

A close friend of mine broke their ankle and, after 2 ops at Balfour Hospital, was taken from Orkney to ARI and was told at Balfour Hospital by a surgeon that at the ARI would be 'given a CT scan, operated on, and home by the end of the week'. My friend was whisked there in the evening with no room for arrangements to be made at home and no argument brooked by Balfour staff.

A few days had gone by and the original operation had been cancelled 6 times.

During this time in hospital my friend had been taken as far as being gowned up and ready to go to theatre when it was cancelled at the last minute. Has been told that the op is non-essential, perhaps not even necessary, and when my friend arrived ARI were not even aware that my friend was being sent there.

I think it is worrying and unacceptable that someone should be kept in hospital and put through as many cancellations as this without even being given the option to go home and return at a later date when the surgical schedule CAN accommodate the non-essential op.

My friend now feels uneasy, and left in the dark about whether it will be possible to be home in orkney for Christmas at this rate.

Another worrying thing is that my friend happens to be the only carer for myself. Furthermore, my friends financial dealings with benefit offices at home are mounting which is having an effect on me as the other tenet.

Both of us are at a loss as to who we should contact for answers to questions and both are a little frightened by the attitude that my friend feels has been encountered with regard to being allowed to go home if the operation is not forthcoming i.e. that my friend can pay for and make the arrangements for the flight alone.

Personally, the day will undoubtedly come for me when I shall require care at the ARI and I cannot say this experience has done anything for my opinion of this hospital other than make me extremely wary of ever setting foot on a plane to go there.

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Response from Linda Oldroyd, Nurse Consultant, Person Centred Care, NHS Grampian

Dear concernedfromorkney

If you would like to contact us directly so that we might investigate your concerns we would be pleased to look into what has happened in this case. I can confirm that some non-urgent surgery has been cancelled in the Orthopaedic Trauma Unit due to the volume of emergency admissions. Where possible patients have been moved to our other orthopaedic facilty at Woodend Hospital to try to address the problem. In addition our consultants have requested extra theatre time to try to help us cope with the exceptional business we are experiencing.

It is concerning when operations are cancelled and we can understand the uncertainty for patients and families that this creates.

Thank you taking the time to post this feedback. We would be pleased to speak with you directly if that would be of help.

I can be contacte on 01224 22492 or by email loldroyd@nhs.net.

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Response from Julie Tait, Patient Experience Officer, NHS Orkney

Dear concernedfromorkney

Thank you for sharing your story on Patient Opinion. I am sorry to hear that your friend is in hospital in Aberdeen and that you are also having some difficulties here in Orkney.

Can I please suggest that you contact Hilary Allen at the Patient Advice and Support Service, Citizens Advice Bureau. She will be able to provide you with some independent advice and support on how you can help your friend and also on your financial and carer needs.

You can contact Hilary on 01856 875266 or at the Citizens Advice Bureau, Bridge Street, Kirkwall.

Unfortunately it is difficult to provide you with any further information without more details and without consent to do so from your friend. If you do wish to contact me however, please do so using the contact information below. I will be glad to help if I can:

Julie Tait

Patient Experience Officer

NHS Orkney

Garden House

New Scapa Road


email: julietait@nhs.net

telephone: 01856 888221

Yours sincerely

Julie Tait

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