"Lack of care by physio has caused long term health problems"

About: Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford)

(as the patient),

The complaint is ongoing, and I would not wish to disclose personal details on a public forum so I'll stick purely to facts and circumstances. Suffice to say that a few years ago, I was treated in such a way by my physio that I was humiliated and degraded in the corridors of RD&E hospital.

At the end of that appointment, the physio said that there was no point in seeing me until I could carry out specific walking based tasks. I was actually seeing this physio for treatment of a condition, which had taken most of my leg functionality (both legs) and rendered me unable to walk without at least one crutch.

The physio made it perfectly clear that I should not go back until I could complete these tasks, by saying that seeing me was a waste of clinic hours that could be better used by others. This physio told me that I should just walk normally. The pain from the effort of it all reduced me to tears in that corridor. I asked for a second "stick" in order that I might achieve the impossible task I was being set. I suffer from somatoform pain disorder, among other things, so this was no easy feat. It was after failing at this task that the physio made it clear I should not return until I could do things their way. Wasn't that what I was there for? To get help with all that? I feel that I was effectively discharged by the physio at that appointment.

Several years on, the continued unsupervised use of a crutch in my right arm has led my shoulder to serious harm; I use a wheelchair now when things are too difficult and am currently receiving treatment elsewhere for rotator cuff injury and other damage which prevents me from using my right arm much at all. I believe that I am now more disabled than I was before as a result of the failure of treatment by that physio.

I wrote to the Chief Exec of Wonford hospital about all this, and the response is almost laughably inadequate. I have yet to see any solid proof that my complaint is being taken seriously or that any kind of investigation has taken place at all. I requested a copy of my complaint record and received copies of the letters exchanged between us and a couple of insignificant emails between staff. Not a shred of any investigation records, which indicates that the Trust's own complaints policy is not being followed and my complaint not being taken seriously. What's more, the administration/management of the hospital have taken the view that since nobody else has made a similar complaint, my experience can't have happened. The latest response suggests that trampling on someone's rights is ok if the person concerned didn't mean to. Considering the Chief Exec et al are ultimately accountable, if I prove the hospital to be in breach of my rights, I would have expected a deeper level of concern.

I am at the stage now of deciding on the legal route or the ombudsman. I think I'll go Ombudsman first, otherwise the legal route will close off that option. I think also the CQC should be made aware of all this.

Anyway, I just wanted to get my 'story' out there, because the hospital don't seem to be taking it seriously. Thanks for reading.

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Response from Patient Engagement & Experience Administrator, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for sharing your story and I am very sorry to hear of your concerns. We would like the opportunity to discuss this with you further and ask if you can call our Patient Engagement and Experience Team on 01392 402093.

Kind regards


Update posted by CJR33d (the patient)

Thanks Tracy, as mentioned this complaint is already in your system so the pages and pages of facts are available for you to read at any time.

What I'm waiting on now is an acknowledgement of the Trust's and the physio's failings, a formal apology and a sit down meeting with your chief executive aimed at rectifying the appalling treatment I received and at forming a plan of how the Trust will put things right.

So far in response to my allegation of a serious human rights breach and failures in patient care I have only received fob off letters from a high up member of staff who takes the stance of these things having not happened, on the basis of the physio concerned not remembering them or not intending them. This has been pushed right back as me as a misunderstanding on my part, however the words "its a waste of clinic hours which could be put to better use on others to see you until you can...." cannot be misunderstood in any way. I was effectively discharged from the care I needed by those words.

I would be glad to discuss matters with you once the Trust is able to put its hands up to its failings i feel, but so far I have only received denials from the trust.

All I asked for from the very beginning was to be listened to and for things to be put right. I feel It is your own chief exec who is forcing me to have to prove my allegations by not taking responsibility for what has happened.

If the Trust want to actively work with me to put things right to a standard acceptable to me then I am more than happy to reopen dialogue with you. To that end I invite you to carry out a full investigation into my complaint, as requested in October of last year and which still has not happened, and write to me with the findings and proposals for remedy. Failing that I believe my only option is to place the complaint in the hands of the ombudsman. I have already brought the matter to the attention of various government departments, and the Prime Minister, so I would urge a speedy and thorough response.

Thank you.

Update posted by CJR33d (the patient)

As anticipated there has been no follow up to this by Wonford's PEED. I'm now in possession of my medical records which clearly show that I made them aware of the shoulder problem in September 2011 but they didn't investigate, meaning almost 3 years later the shoulder problem is far worse than it might otherwise have been.

Also importantly the physio has recorded her telling me that review appointments were not clinically effective use of time. How it was actually said was much stronger, as I described in my first post, and left no doubt in my mind that I should not ask for an appointment until my condition improved. So the PEED and Chief Exec are aware of these points but still deny any wrongdoing.

In light of this I think my next step should be to give Wonford one final chance to resolve matters before placing it in the hands of the Parliamentary Ombudsman and Care Quality Commission. There's probably strong grounds for a clinical negligence claim too so I'll seek further advice on that next week.

So RD&E Hospital (Wonford), I strongly suspect you're not even taking any notice of all this, but if you want to make use of my more than generous offer to keep this in house my reference number ends 9050. I'll wait until this time next week, after which time I'll interpret a lack of activity as a lack of intention to resolve matters, and escalate my complaint accordingly. Naturally I'll write a letter to that effect this weekend.

Response from Brenda Leaman, Patient Experience Lead, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust

We are very sorry that your concerns have not been addressed to your satisfaction. We have arranged for the Head of Therapies to call you so they can listen to your concerns, and agree with you a way forward to positively manage your concerns.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

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