"Comment on information and follow up"

About: The James Cook University Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

Following diagnosis I underwent mastectomy, sentinel node biopsy and immediate reconstruction. The diagnosis, surgery and care were great. The staff were excellent and the ward nursing staff exceptional.

I would like to comment on the lack of discharge advice though and subsequent requirement for surgery.

I was discharged with one of my two drains in situ and had to manage it myself before I could return to have it removed when it stopped draining. There was an assumption that I would be able to remember the information given verbally on discharge. There was no written information about exercise, how much and what I could do. No information on what I could expect as a result of the surgery.

As a result I had to contact the consultant or his secretary numerous times. I always got a response and the care continued to be good but I felt that I was bothering the consultant unnecessarily. When I discussed things with the Breast Care Nurse, she did her best but had never seen a reconstruction performed so struggled to answer some concerns and queries.

If there had been a Specialist nurse for Breast Reconstruction it would have helped immensely. Subsequently anyone having this surgery needs to have a nipple reconstructed (about a year later) but this is not considered a priority when you are on a waiting list and cancellations for surgery followed on two occasions. Whilst this is not a priority for the hospital, it is a huge priority for your own psychological well being and self esteem.

If you could get this message to people it would be a bonus.

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Response from The James Cook University Hospital

Good afternoon. Thank you for your comments about the care and treatment you received from The James Cook University Hospital. I shall certainly forward your thanks to the ward nursing staff for their information. I am concerned however, to learn about your experience regarding the lack of information provided to you on discharge and we will of course investigate this. I should be grateful therefore, if you would contact me at your earliest convenience on 01642 854500, to discuss your concerns further and the options available to take them forward. Many thanks again for your comments Yours sincerely Miss Barbara Bellamy Patient Relations Secretary

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