"Operation cancelled twice due to lack of beds"

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

I am shocked that the lack of bed availability are main reasons for last minute cancellations. On two occasions, I had to be nil by mouth by 12am and disconnect my TPN feed at 5am earlier than my usual time to ensure I am on time for my 7. 30am appointment.

By 9am I have registered at the reception, seen to by the auxiliary nurse, staff nurse, anaesthetic, registrar/ surgeon at different times. It is shocking to witness wasted resources, administration, booked theatre and surgeon time and costs at the admission lounge and also at the pre-assessment clinic one week prior to planned operation date.

By 1pm on both occasions I am advised that my operation has been cancelled due to lack of beds. The meal voucher does not cover the costs of the parking ticket.

I have witnessed more than 60 percent of others patients leaving the room in disappointment and hope they too raise awareness of unsatisfactory service so improvements can be put in place to avoid unnecessary costs to the NHS and the patient.

Poor mangement of beds and abuse of continuous usage of offering another date within 28 days guarantee after last minute cancellation does not guarantee a bed.

I have contacted PALs and am waiting to receive details of whom I need to forward my complaint letter to in the first instance.

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Response from Patient Relations & Experience Manager, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback about the 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 sorry that you have not had a positive experience and that your operation was cancelled on more than one occasion. This is certainly not the type of experience we aim to provide as we understand the frustration and distress this can cause. There are occasions when surgery is cancelled due to circumstances outside of our control; we are working hard to ensure the risk of this happening is minimised. Where patients are cancelled we endeavour to offer a new date as soon as possible.

Our understanding is that following your contact with the PALS team you were given a new date and have now undergone surgery as planned. We hope you are recovering well.

If you require any further support please make contact again via our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) team who will be pleased to assist.

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.