"My daughter's surgery was almost cancelled"

About: Sunderland Royal Hospital / General surgery

(as a parent/guardian),

My daughter was scheduled for surgery to repair a deviated septum in July 2015. As instructed, she rang the day surgery unit the evening before and was asked to attend at 12. 30pm. However, on the morning of her surgery she received a phone call shortly after 9. 00am, telling her the surgeon had asked if she could come in immediately. This she did and she arrived at the unit just after 10. 00am where she was immediately admitted and prepared for theatre. She was still sitting there four hours later!

On the several occasions she queried the delay, she was told that there was probably a delay in theatre. Meanwhile theatre had been ringing to ask if she had arrived, only to be told that my daughter couldn’t be reached. This suggests either adequate systems and protocols weren’t in place or that they were not followed. My daughter was distressed to learn that her surgery had almost been cancelled!

She suffers from Crohn’s disease and needs to eat little and often. The delay meant she had nothing to eat or drink for almost 24hrs, this in addition to an unnecessarily long wait.

Her surgeon, anaesthetist and the theatre staff were very professional and the staff of C33, where my daughter spent the night, was thoughtful and very efficient. We are grateful to them for the care they gave my daughter. It’s a shame the surgical day case unit was not of the same professional standard nor provide the same level of care.

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Response from City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

We are sorry to hear of your daughter's experience and would like to apologise for any distress caused due to unsatisfactory communication between teams. This is clearly unacceptable and we would like to discuss this in more detail with you so we can learn from this to try to ensure this does not happen again. If you would be willing to do this, could you please contact the Help and Advice Service using the contact details below. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

Email: Helpandadviceservice@chsft.nhs.uk

Telephone: 0191 569 9855 or freephone 08005876513

Opening times: Monday – Friday 8 am – 5pm