"Appalling/Non-Existent Service"

About: Royal Hallamshire Hospital

After my 86 year old father's cataract operation on Friday 22nd Aug, he had failed to recover any sight in the operated eye on the Saturday morning. As instructed by the after-care booklet we called the hospital to discuss the situation at 10am on Saturday. After several phone calls during the day, at around 5pm my father was instructed to attend ward I1 at 10am on Sunday morning. We arrived at the appointed time and were told to wait with 2 other patients who had also been asked to attend at 10am. For the next 2 hours we were given very little information about when a doctor would be available (other than "he's on his way"). Finally at 12:30 I questioned the Staff Nurse and the Sister on Ward I1 and it became clear that not only was there no available doctor on site but that the doctor that they expected was in his car, apparently travelling to the hospital but they could not provide any information about where he was or when he would arrive. Also the doctor was apparently unable to receive a call or respond to a message. The nurses were reluctant to give me detailed information and I probably forced them to reveal more than they were comfortable doing (please note that I do not place any blame on the nursing staff for this debacle) but I pushed because I had to make a decision about my father's medication needs. The Sister asked that I waited for a further 10 minutes before leaving. Although I had anticipated spending some time at the hospital, I had not expected an indeterminate wait and had therefore not brought my father's medication (including the eye drops required to assist with his recovery from the cataract operation) and so, reluctantly, at 12:40, I was obliged to take him home without receiving any medical consultation. The fact that I had been incurring car parking charges for this aborted visit is somewhat annoying but negligible in light of the fact that as his only family member who could get him to the Hallamshire on that Sunday morning, I had driven over a hundred miles from Northampton early on Sunday morning to get him to the appointment. With the ensuing return journey I incurred significant cost and lost time in aiding my father to comply with the post-operative recommendations only to find that the hospital had no suitable physician available to deliver the expected service. I would appreciate an explanation of this abject failure by the Hallamshire.

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Response from Debbie Fletcher, Patient Partnership, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback regarding your recent experience of our services. I am very sorry that you have had cause to raise concerns and we would like to be given the opportunity to investigate these further. If you would like us to investigate your concerns further, please contact our Patient Services Team on either 0114 2712400 or pst@sth.nhs.uk and they will take additional details from you.

Thank you once again.

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