"just who is making the decisions?"

About: Royal Eye Infirmary

I was unfortunate enough to be referred to the REI as an urgent referral on 22nd October 2014, after my optician found there to be cause for concern whilst I was having a routine eye test. The referral was taken to my gp at 11.00am that day, and the referral was made to the REI before noon. The referral was mainly due to the fact that I had loss of vision and what was there was blurred. The optician suspected either a detached retina, a macular hole or in the extreme case a tumour, causing the loss of vision. The following Monday 5 days after referral as urgent, I had still heard nothing from the REQ. I called the appointments department and was told there was a 12 week wait for an urgent appointment at the unit. I asked who had made this decision, and on what criteria an urgent referral had been downgraded to non urgent. I have still not been told officially who made that decision but it appears to have been a non clinical decision. I made enquiries about a private consultation and was told I could see the same consultant that I would have seen on the NHS the following Monday, which I did. I then had all the tests that I would have done on the NHS at Derriford Hospital, and the consultant then decided to refer me to an ocular oncologist. That was on 27th November 2014. During this time my private insurers had decided that as there had been mention on my notes on the 22nd October, the day my gp had referred me, they would no longer cover any costs as they considered it was pre existing condition, as it was on my notes 6 days before I made my claim, which I onlly made as the waiting list was so long anyway. Despite macular hole and detached retina being ruled out, as was diabetic retinopathy, (I am not diabetic) there is a naevus (mole) on my eye which has increased in size considerably in the 2 months prior to my referral. As i could not bear the cost of staying private, bearing in mind that the oncologist is in London, as there are only 4 centres in the country, I was advised by Macmillan Cancer org to ask to be referred back via the NHS, as it would come under Urgent pathway as I was waiting to see the oncologist. It is now March 6th 2015. I have still not seen the oncologist nor do I have an appointment. Despite the medical secretary trying to do their best, it appears that once the magic word "Private" disappears you "slip off the end of the desk". My sight has deteriorated, even further, and there is no way it can be improved with glasses. I am now not able to drive as my sight does not meet the requirements to do so. I am not even typing this as I cannot see clearly enough anymore. I know Derriford has its problems but maybe they should actually allow the public to run the place, as the powers that be dont seem to be doing so efficiently. Spend more money on nurses.

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Response from Genny Turner, Senior Quality Facilitator, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Dear Disillusion,

Please would you be kind enough to give our PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) Team a call on 01752 439884 or email plh-tr.PALS@nhs.net.

The PALS team will take further information from you which will aid their investigation into your concerns.

Best wishes


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