"Orthopaedic Unit"

About: Southmead Hospital

I have been waiting to receive a diagnosis/treatment for over sixty weeks since being referred to Southmead Hospital by MATS. Although I have been sent for scans in order to find a solution, the period between each referral has typically been 3 months or longer. I have therefore received one MRI scan, one ultrasound scan and one secondary consultation with a specialist since the initial referral by MATS. There appears to be a culture of deferral/stalling at the hospital in which sincere attempts to find a solution are substituted by excuses, blandishments and platitudes. It is difficult to determine what drives this; however, it seems that patient care is not a fundamental priority, but is perhaps expected as a consequential byproduct of meeting other targets. If that is the case, and the targets are poorly drawn, then people will always find ways to satisfy the targets which may not necessarily result in meeting the objectives.

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Response from Southmead Hospital

Dear Sam – thank you for your feedback. I regret that you feel bureaucracy is interfering with patient care. I am sorry to learn that your treatment is taking so long to deliver. Without further details I cannot comment specifically on your case, but I wish to assure you from my personal experience of the service patient care lies at the heart of the Trust’s thinking. Regrettably however, resources play a big part in how quickly a patient can be seen. Sometimes it is not funding, but the availability of sufficiently trained or experienced staff at registrar and consultant level that will determine wait times. For example there is currently a national shortage of clinicians able to undertake complex spinal surgery and this has delayed elective operations and caused long waiting lists, despite the Trust seeking to obtain support from other specialist centres. Kind Regards - Steve Sykes Advice and Complaints Team

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