"My Dads treatment for Lung Cancer"

About: Raigmore Hospital / General Surgery

(as a relative),

I feel my dad was let down badly by the treatment for his lung cancer.

When he was diagnosed he was told it was not possible to operate and he then had to wait for a further appointment to discuss his options.

This took a few weeks and I accompanied him during this visit. We were advised the next appointment would be with an Oncologist, who could discuss with us the possibility of Chemo or Radiotherapy to help reduce the tumor. I felt we were treated like a number and when I asked why it was not possible to operate - I was not told that it was because dad was not fit enough but that 'we just don't do that when we are unable to cure the patient'.

Dad then had to wait more weeks and in the end he actually passed away before he even saw the Oncologist.

I even asked our local GP to chase the appointment and called Raigmore to also chase but as the Oncologist was on holiday no one could see my dad to help.

I feel that if we had been seen quicker and possibly offered radiotherapy my dad would have had a slightly longer time with us.

When he did pass away we had no MacMillan Nurse and no support and we ended up caring for dad until his last with the support of the local Paramedic Team - who I have to say were brilliant.

Since then I know of other patients with the same diagnosis as my dad was given who have been lucky enough to have seen the Oncologist and have been offered treatment. I feel very angry that we were denied such service.

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Response from Elaine Mead, Chief Executive, NHS Highland

Dear Lorsie

I was really saddened to read your story about your dad and would like to offer my condolences for your loss.

I am sorry that you feel that your dad was let down badly by his treatment and realise that any diagnosis of cancer can be a shock. We need to do everything we can to help at this difficult time, and from your story it is clear that we did not spend enough time communicating sensitively the seriousness of the situation – and I am sorry for that.

We think it is important to take time to reflect on the way that we handle situations, and I would be happy to meet with you in person, or arrange for you to meet a member of the clinical team if you feel that this would be helpful for you. You can contact me on emead@nhs.net or 01463 704838.

I am glad to see that you were with your dad until his last, and I am sure that, like a lot of people, that is what he would have wanted. I also acknowledge the fantastic and caring work of the local paramedic teams who provide this support in often difficult circumstances.

Thank you for taking the time to share this experience with us through Patient Opinion. It is just one way that way that we get to hear real experiences from people, and I thank you for your bravery in sharing such a personal story at such a difficult time.

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