"Absence of Ombudsman to deal with disputes in private healthcare"

About: Raigmore Hospital / Trauma & orthopaedics

(as the patient),

In June 2014 I contacted my GP suffering from pain in my left shoulder of nine months duration. As I was due to go abroad soon I opted to have private treatment at Raigmore Hospital. The waiting time for an out patient appointment let alone treatment was four months.

I was seen within two weeks, required an x-ray of my shoulder and was referred to a further specialist for ultra sound and steroid injection. On receiving the bill for treatment I noted charges for the x-Ray and ultra sound which had not as required been explained to me. In fact a form which I signed had been filled in after but not by me. Another form which I had signed agreeing to pay for ultra sound was the wrong form dating from 2009 and not the current one so the charges were wrong. I was also informed that the x-ray department should have contacted me telling me the charge for x-Ray which they did not.

I disputed the charge I was being asked to pay submitting the evidence I have stated. As no progress was being made with the finance department of Raigmore Hospital I referred the matter to the senior team of NHS Highland Board. As they did not agree with or accept my position I contacted the Ombudsman for the NHS to be informed that they did not deal with any private matters and referred me to three possible sources for assistance. None of these were able to help stating there was no system available for help in a case such as mine. I therefore contacted my MP, Danny Alexander who immediately took up my case but lost his seat to Drew Hendry whose team again took on my case and finally proposed the only solution available to me was to contact ICAS. They were both interested and helpful and advised I state my case on Patient Opinion as it would require a response from NHS Highland.

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