"If I could cope without having the treatment I would"

About: New Victoria Hospital / Day surgery

(as the patient),

I am writing on this page following a response from the Health Minister's office advising me to do so.

I have received alarmingly poor and inconsistent treatment at the above clinic. My operation was cancelled because of a positive MRSA swab. Only at this point was I told that there was insufficient time left before my op to attempt decolonisation.

I had been very proactive about my care, and explained that if the policy had been available ANYWHERE for me to consult, I would've chased an earlier pre-op or asked my GP to swab me. I asked if suppression might not be a safer option, on the basis I hope to have another child soon, and that will be by c-section and so am worried about antibiotic resistance developing. Refused.

I was swabbed on the day I should have had my op and was clear, but am now being put through another round of decolonisation because I've swabbed on another part of my body for MRSA. I should add that I had HAD two clear swabs at this point, as my GP had done one, but was told that this GP swab was not in line with the mysterious policy, a copy of which has still not been provided. No explanation as to why MRSA appears to have spread to my throat following treatment.

Staff confused and incoherent telling different stories. When I challenged one staff member on the interval between swabs, because she said different to her colleague, and explained my concerns about the unseen policy and inconsistencies between staff, she asked me if I wanted to get MRSA! both issues are now the subject of a complaint by me.

Even the staff who were pleasant and helpful (which, with that exception, to be fair has been most of them) have told me different stories: one said that they would keep trying decolonisation, while another had said it could only be attempted twice.

I got the bad news while on a holiday (which I'd told them about, with my terminally ill Dad) and asked if the prescription could be faxed to a chemist here to avoid any further delay. The surgeon refused to do this, further delaying my treatment for no good reason. I'm still no clearer on what will happen after - one member of staff reassured me that my (very painful) knee will be sorted once the 2 decolonisations had been done, only for another to tell me that if the second decolonisation doesn't work, there will have to be a risk assessment and the final word will lie with the surgeon. I don't know whether I will be party to any risk assessment or not, but feel strongly that I should be.

This is having a terrible impact on my mental, as well as physical health. Even the complaints procedure is worrying me, had several emails in response to me chasing up my complaint going 'didn't you get our response? ' and was told that my complaint would have to be dropped in order for me to make a claim against the hospital. I have now demanded that they copy everything to me by post. I don't really want to take legal action, but the whole process has been so shambolic I may be left with little choice unless I want to be in pain for the rest of my life.

If I could cope without having the treatment I would, as I now have so little trust in the hospital to treat me properly because of the sheer extent of confusion and inconsistency. I've always been a staunch supporter of the NHS, and this is all made worse by the fact that I'd been determined to see the good in the New Vic, after a number of friends and colleagues have had problems here. I now have to take someone with me to all appointments and make detailed notes on all phone calls in case I end up having to go to court over this.

To top it all off, I'd said throughout that I was under exceptional personal stress at the moment, and had a pre-existing depression diagnosis. For my part, I've been organised and pro-active, have chased up appointments, booked childcare and my own post op care exactly as demanded by pre-op clinic (in contrast to them, who have never provided me with full written information when requested) and only booked a holiday after speaking to the booking team.

The way I've been treated has been particularly unacceptable when these are factored in. I've also asked about my status in relation to Patient Rights legislation and where I stand with the Treatment Time guarantee - if the clock HAS been stopped, as one Nurse claimed, because of my MRSA (even though the document excludes tests other than the treatment for the condition so far as I can see), I haven't been kept properly informed in writing as I should have been, and haven't even been told verbally. Due to the surgeon's refusal to fax the prescription, I will now go beyond the given date of the beginning of April for treatment time.

This letter might finally get supplied now, but if it does it will only be because I chased it up.

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Responses

Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

You write in great detail about the experience you have had and I am sorry that this has led to you submitting a formal complaint. While Patient Opinion can be used effectively by members of the public to share their healthcare experiences and help to improve services, there is a limit to what information we would be able to provide when there is already a formal complaint in process. This is because the formal complaints procedure is able to look in much greater detail at the specifics of a situation and respond to the patient directly, therefore I would suggest that this is the best way to address your concerns.

I would also like to draw your attention to an organisation called the Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) which is delivered by the Scottish Citizens Advice Bureau. This is a free, impartial service which can assist people through the complaints process and may provide some support to you if you are finding this process difficult. You can find more information about PASS on their website at http://www.cas.org.uk/about-us/partnerships-services/cab-service-partners/patient-advice-and-support-service or by calling your local Citizens Advice Bureau. I hope that this is of some use to you.

With best wishes,

Lorna

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Update posted by KneeOp2015 (the patient)

Thank you Lorna.

While for some reason my comment was only posted very recently, I actually submitted it a while before.

We managed to finally get a meeting with the surgeon and various staff last Thursday. They were very helpful and things are looking a lot more positive. I now know that my operation will go ahead and that it will be very soon, which is an enormous relief.

I'm still waiting for the complaint response and have been in touch with PASS, but hopefully things will improve from here. I do hope though that NHSGGC will consider revising their MRSA information: even changing the line about "being cared for separately" to something along the lines of "your care team will advise you whether or not decolonisation is required" would at least flag up the possibility.

It would surely be easy enough to outline the decolonisation process and timeframe in the online content too. That would've avoided most of my problems, and to be honest it might help staff: it is pretty clear to me that they aren't dealing with Mrsa positive swabs very often, and they surely need something handy to refer to!

Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Thank you for getting in touch again to update me on your progress. I'm sorry that your comments were not published sooner, however I am glad that you feel that things are moving in a much more positive direction.

I will take on board your suggestions for how patient information on MRSA is presented and made available to patients to see how this could be made easier in the future.

Thanks again,

Lorna

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Response from Gina Alexander, Director, Care Opinion Scotland, Care Opinion

picture of Gina Alexander

Hi KneeOp2015

Thanks for taking the time to share your experience on Patient Opinion. I'm really sorry that it took a while for us to publish your story. Although we are a small team we usually manage to publish most things on the same or next day if we can, longer at a weekend. If a story is particularly critical or complex it may take us a few days longer too. However we can't see any good reason why the delay occurred in this case so it's annoying that we missed it. We'll have a chat about it in the team and we'll try to do better.

We're sorry that it led to confusion between you and the Board: apologies to them too.

So glad to see that you've had constructive discussions and that your feedback is being considered. Hope your op goes well and we look forward to hearing how things go.

Best wishes

Gina

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