"Administration communication"

About: Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford) / General surgery

(as the patient),

Hard to believe but this is true, a family member was rung and told to get to the Hospital for noon for an operation, next call from R. D. E. told they were not to go.

Rang again and told family member must go as they get fined if they don’t use the slot, next call you guessed…told not to attend…. next call…..the right hand does not know what the left is doing. Admin is so poor.

I had an operation and the surgeon and clinical staff was excellent.

I complained about something else…went to PALS…this was in early june. After chasing them up several times, in late July I received a letter telling me it was nothing to do with them, the letter was dated late july. How many weeks had it taken to tell me this? Bureaucracy had gone mad i feel.

When I complained to PALS, I was told to go to Complaints Team...short time later I rang the Complaints Team. The staff member was the same person who I had been speaking to at PALS shortly before...the member of staff then told me to put the complaint in an e-mail. They just tell you to ring this number or that number, not accountable for their actions.

Bureaucracy gone mad...PALS/Complaints team in my opinion do not seem independent and these positions just generate work. What a waste of time and money.

They seem to delay and cut clinical positions but not in PALS, Complaints, Operations Manager and Chief Executive Sections.

As a family we have had two dealings with administrative systems at R. D. and E. and both were poor. Leave the clinicians and doctors to do their excellent work.

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Response from Rebecca McGuffog, Patient Engagement and Experience Officer, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust

We are very sorry for your family’s frustrating and confusing experience regarding their planned operation date. Your experience is certainly not what we would expect and I am very sorry that your experience fell below the high standards of care we strive to afford our patients.

As we do not have the specific details of the date of the surgery and the specialty your family member was under, we have not been able to investigate your concerns in detail. However, you will be aware that the during the Winter period, the Trust experienced a significant increase in the number of acutely unwell and emergency patients in need of urgent surgery. As a consequence of this, some patients had their surgeries cancelled.

In an attempt to ensure any patients who had been cancelled had their surgeries performed at the earliest opportunity and to keep up to date with current referrals, the aim of the Surgical Division is to maximise every available slot for surgery. Although the peak in emergency patients subsided earlier in the year, when we do have emergency patients to treat, we are, on occasions, still required to delay planned surgeries to ensure this can be facilitated.

The aim, however, is to ensure that one patient is not affected by this for too long. I am sorry for the frustration you have experienced.

We are sorry and disappointed to hear of your dissatisfaction with the PALS and Complaints Service, as the events you describe do not reflect the standard of service we endeavour to provide. In order to look into your concerns further in this respect, we will require your contact details. If you would like to discuss these concerns further, please contact Ms Sandy Haskings, Patient Experience Manager, on (01392) 402093.

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Update posted by Pass the Parcel (the patient)

The medical procedures performed by the Hospital were good....excellent...the medical staffs were let down by the bureaucracy gone mad!

It was the administration; with a family member three times told to attend an operation and be there at noon, we then received a call from another staff to say don’t come in three times within twenty minutes! Doesn’t the section communicate with each other? It would be funny if it was a comedy!

PALS and the Complaints Teams are a waste of time. Too many administrative staff...and now we have a 'Patient Experience Manager'. They should have one section to act for the interest of the service user….perhaps not in the Hospital and completely independent. There appears to be much duplication and lack of responsibility…all of these sections eats into Hospital budgets. Patients need consideration and respect in dealing with their issues. Admin need to identify and see the complaint from their point of view.... A lot of the staff seem 'out of touch' with patients and can't identify with their concerns....lack sympathy and empathy. People are not cardboard boxes on a conveyer belt in a factory we are all individuals….not pass the parcel!

Even when you raise issues and concerns... a complaint take 10 weeks to state it was nothing to do with the Hospital..... Perhaps it takes 10 weeks to go through the system! Should have been dealt with within the week!

Response from Peter Brain, Volunteer, Healthwatch Devon

Dear Patient,

The comments and responses on the web-site of Patient Opinion are shared with us at Healthwatch.

Thank you for responding to what was clearly a frustrating experience. In addition to the original problem I am sorry the PALS service was not good for you. At Healthwatch we are building a picture of the provision of services in Devon and these comments should help the NHS and other providers develop and improve their services.

If you wish to discuss this or any other health or social care issue with us in confidence, including seeking advice or information about services, please call 0800 520 0640, or email info@healthwatchdevon.co.uk or go on-line to www.healthwatchdevon.co.uk.

Yours sincerely

Peter Brain

Healthwatch Devon is the consumer champion for Health and Social Care in Devon.

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