About: Hemel Hempstead Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics St Albans City Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics Watford General Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

Following back surgery nearly five years ago, I experienced severe pain down one leg after approximately six months. I went regularly to the back clinic at St Albans City Hospital, was given spinal injections every few months and was told I was suffering from nerve damage following the back surgery. The surgeon told me the latest back x-ray looked good but he was happy to carry out further surgery. I then suffered indescribable pain for two-and-a-half years, in desperation went to Pilates and was told by the instructor that there was nothing wrong with my back but I needed left hip replacement. An xray confirmed this but the hospital told me I would have to wait "my turn" I. e. 18 weeks (by which time I would have been in a wheelchair) so I had no choice but to pay privately for the operation.

My local MP spoke to the Chief Executive on my behalf prior to the op to no avail. I have now made a complaint to the Health Ombudsman but many months have passed and I have heard nothing except I "passed the first criteria" but it would be some time before I heard further. My story has been in the three local newspapers and does not make good reading for West Herts Hospital Trust but I think they don't seem to care. My MP has chased the Health Ombudsman but still I have heard nothing at all.

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Response from Watford General Hospital

We are sorry to learn that your experience of our hospital was not as expected.

If you would like us to investigate this matter further on your behalf, please contact our colleagues in the Complaints Department on 01923 217866.

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Update posted by Wizard (the patient)

After all this time you have got such a nerve in making this comment. You had plenty of time when I first made the complaint. Initially the Complaints team was sympathetic but since then I feel they have been unhelpful, aggressive and unsympathetic. I was told that whatever the outcome with the Ombudsman the hospital would fight it. I have it in writing from a senior member of staff that the hospital appeared not to have considered x-raying my hip and should have done. What I do not understand is that when it was obvious I desperately needed hip surgery I was told I would have to wait the usual length of time. I had already waited two-and-a-half years - is that not long enough?