"Waiting time for teenagers operation"

About: The Royal Victoria Infirmary

My 13 year old daughter met her consultant at the RVI in October 2013 when it was agreed that she required spinal surgery. The consultant felt that May/June 2014 would be a suitable time for her operation and wrote to us to confirm. At her follow up appointment in April 2014 the consultant again agreed surgery would take place in May/June 2014- again he wrote to confirm this. I have contacted his secretary and the waiting list team for updates and have been given dates that have never materialised, on numerous occasions I have been promised someone would return my call - which never happens. I have written a formal complaint outlining the issues regarding my daughters treatment - mainly managing expectations, a waiting list exceeding the 18 week target and the poor customer service. Since receiving my complaint I have given 3 possible dates - again none of which have happened. Last week I was told the Patient Director would call me - I am still waiting. I have received the written response to my complaint today which really just makes excuses- I don't believe the hospital will put anything in place to ensure others aren't treated in a similar manner.

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Response from The Royal Victoria Infirmary

Thank you for taking the time to bring to our attention the concerns you have regarding the care and treatment you have received from the Spinal Service at the Royal Victoria Infirmary. We are very disappointed that the care your daughter received has not met the standards you expected and would wish to offer you an apology on behalf of the Musculoskeletal Services Directorate. May we assure you that the comments you have made on NHS Choices and those you have made via the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) and our Patient Relations Service have been taken very seriously and efforts have been made to arrange a date for your daughter’s surgery in line with your expectations. Many teenagers who require idiopathic Scoliosis Correction procedures request that their operations be undertaken during the Summer holiday period and the Spinal Service does very much endeavour to accommodate as many as possible within the timescale. Although every attempt is made to schedule procedures to meet all requests, clinical priority remains the overriding determinant of dates for surgery. We understand that the team is now working with your family to find a mutually convenient date for your daughter’s surgery. Feedback such as yours is used in ensuring that the service provided is in line with patient and public expectations and to highlight occasions, such as this one, when we were unable to meet those expectations.

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