"Lack of communication/Understaffed..."

My partner was admitted as an emergency with a blocked gallbladder duct. A&E were fabulous as were critical care. When he was admitted to ward 305 everything started to go downhill.The stone after several various attempts was still blocking the duct so a temporary stent and a drain bag was fitted. There was no communication between various doctors involved and hardly any with us. we were given inconsistent information from various doctors so we didn't know what was going on or what the next step was. I asked to speak to a doctor at 3.30p.m and i was still waiting at 07.30 when I was told that the Gastro team had gone home. He has had cancer and had been for a scan a month previously. I had to cancel his appointment with the oncology Consultant telling him that my partner was an in-patient. Nothing about the results of the scan were told to us. A consultant dropped it in during a ward round (when he was alone) that more cancer had been found. There was no-one available to answer his questions and he was so distressed! He was allowed to come home with the temp stent in and a tube from the drain still in his side. We have since( finally !) spoken to the oncology consultant who has offered him the option of some chemo. This will not cure the cancer but may slow it down This cannot start until the permanent stent is fitted. We had an appointment yesterday to come in. We phoned at 10.00 and was told to phone after 14.00. we phoned at this time then was told to phone after 16.00. We did that but they still didn't know if there would be a bed. Finally someone phoned us at 7 to say they were very sorry but there wasn't a bed for him. We had been waiting all day in a state of anxiety and I had arranged a week off work. The procedure has been cancelled which in turn will put off his chemo. My partner feels that the decision makers feel that he is a lost cause and don't care. It can take hours to get through on the phone because no-one is available to answer the phones. When you do get through people promise to phone back and never do. I am very disappointed with the care and communication that my partner has received. It really is unacceptable and I am really surprised that he has been treated so badly. We were told that someone would phone us today. It is now 14.17 and surprise surprise - nothing yet.

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Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on your partner’s experience of Gastrointestinal and Liver services at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. We welcome all feedback and would like to assure you that all comments are taken seriously and acted upon as part of our ongoing commitment to improving patient experience. We are very concerned to hear about your partner’s experience, your feedback has been shared with the senior management team responsible for this service. They have advised that they are already aware of the situation you refer to in your feedback and are very sorry that this has been such a distressing experience for you and your partner. The phone call that you are awaiting was planned to be made today, the staff member who arranged to contact you was awaiting confirmation of a new date for the procedure. He has advised that he will make contact with you this afternoon as a priority. We hope this will resolve your concerns satisfactorily, if you have any outstanding concerns please make contact via our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) team who will be pleased to assist you in the first instance. PALS can be contacted by phone 0121 371 3280, by email PALS@uhb.nhs.uk , via the hospital website http://www.uhb.nhs.uk/pals-form.htm or in person by dropping in between 9am – 4.30pm (Mon-Fri) to the PALS office located to the left of the Information Desk in the main entrance of the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

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