"How would you manage on your own with this system?"

About: South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust

(as a carer),

My Mother is 85, lives independently but has Alzheimers. In September she fell and broke her arm.

She refused to leave the house for her normal visit to the Podiatry clinic and it has taken 3 months to arrange a home visit.

19/11/14 She refuses to leave the house. I telephone Podiatry to apologise and they are keen to tell me she will go on a none attendance register. Under pressure they admit that a home visit is possible but even though this service has been delivered for 10 tears it has to be referred by a GP.

I rang the Gps receptionist who is very helpful, says it is easy to do and will arrange it.

Nothing happens for a month. A visiting district nurse says she works in the same unit as podiatry, it is easy to arrange and if the GP hasn't sorted it out she will.

Nothing happens and after a further month I go back to the Gps receptionist who says that they had arranged for a home diabetic review. This is not a podiatry appointment the home diabetic review didn't happen either and they well get back to it.

After another interval I get a phone at 8. 30 AM saying that they can "come now". I am also trying to have some sort of life other than be a Carer and can not just come now! I offer to book but this is not possible. About a week later another call says that my Mum is on the top of a list for cancellations but that this can only happen on a Monday (who knew people only cancel on Mondays? ). We agree a Monday when I am free assuming a cancellation occurs. It is not possible to book. She is on some sort of "floating" list, I do not know what this means and am to fed up to try to find out.

I receive another phone call to say a visit has been arranged for Wednesday 11/2/15.

The podiatrist rings me the day before to narrow down the 9Am to 18. 30 visiting slot and is able to reduce this a likely 30 minute window.

The podiatrist arrives, is lovely and has previously provided this same service to my Mother when she would leave the house.

As I have said all the people involved have been helpful and supportive but why is everything always like this? ? ? The people who organize these "systems" should read some Kafka!

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Response from Annie Laverty, Director of Patient Experience, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust We are preparing to make a change

picture of Annie Laverty

Dear Redrug,

Thanks for letting us know about this. I am so sorry to read about the frustrations you experieced trying to get your Mum an appointment. I agree, the system you describe sounds daft and extremely difficult to navigate. It is also falls a long way short of the kind of service we'd like to provide.

I have asked Helen Smart who is Head of Service for Podiatry and Specialist Nursing Services to look into this for me and find out exactly what happened. To do this she would need a few details from you - would you mind getting in touch with her directly? Her email is helen.smart@nhct.nhs.uk

Many thanks and our apologies once again,


  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Update posted by Redrug (a carer)

I am very pleased to have had a reply so quickly. I would like to apologise as this story is entirely about South Tyneside and NOT Northumbria. The GP, District Nurse and Podiatry all work in South Tyneside. I have contacted patient Opinion and asked that they change the heading.

Updates, changes and questions related to this story