"Staff try to be pleasant but long wait and..."

About: Royal Preston Hospital

Last year in Feb/Mar I started getting sciatica, tried managing it myself and then as getting worse had some private physio in May and was told I needed a MRI scan to find out exactly what was wrong.

In June my doctors surgery in Garstang referred me to the MSK unit and told that they can refer me to Preston for a consultant if needed.

At first I was given an appointment in over 6 weeks but phoned up and arranged an appointment at another site in 4 weeks, by then I could hardly walk and was using crutches. They then referred me for the MRI scan which I had after another month.

At the end of August I had an appointment with MSK unit for the results (less than 2 weeks after the scan) where they said I had a herniated disc and it needed operating on and they'd refer me to Preston.

When I hadn't heard anything after a few weeks I rang up to be told it's only been a few weeks since referral so will need to wait a bit longer.

A few weeks later got a letter saying they'd tried to ring me to arrange the appointment and here's an appointment date in November.

By now I had to use a wheelchair to get from A to B and struggled to sit for more than 15mins at a time.

I was on reduced hours at work, doing some working from home and had an array of chairs in the office including kneeling and rocking and towel for lying on the floor.

I wasn't best pleased as from my perspective I'd been waiting since June to get some answers.

Ringing up just got told unfortunately that's how it is, and that the nhs waiting list promise ignores all the waiting I've done before this point.

When I arrived for appt they were running a bit late.

When I was called through I went through everything including the MRI scans with a specialist nurse who said I needed the operation, but told the consultant had been called away so they would talk to them to sign it off.

I was warned that the waiting lists can be up to 6 months, but mine is a simple op in their eyes so could be sooner.

They just tell you their facts and any timings are down to the waiting list team.

I was booked me in for the initial pre-operation in 3 weeks time (yet another wait) to check there wasn't any health issues before I could go on the actual waiting list.

Pre-op was fine but again told it could be 6 months, when I'd already waited 6 months.

I spoke to the patient liaison team on the phone to help calm down afterwards, as I could only see going private as a way forward.

They were great as a bit more detached but could access my notes and see all the dates.

A week and a half later I was ringing the waiting list team on my landline and my mobile rang and it was them on the end offering an operation in just over 2 weeks in Chorley.


A few days before the operation had a phone call and they'd have an emergency and it was cancelled and put back 4 weeks to mid Jan.

No cancellation this time, stayed in overnight, and now within 2 weeks walking unaided and almost no pain after 11 months :-)

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Royal Preston Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to tell us of your experience. We were so sorry to hear of the delays you encountered in relation to having your investigations completed and an operation date provided as it is clear from your communication the impact that had on your health and wellbeing. Whilst it is sometimes necessary to cancel operations for the reason you describe, please be assured that decisions to do so are not taken lightly as we do fully appreciate the impact of those cancellations on our patients and their families.

On a positive note, it was extremely pleasing to here that your operation took place as planned 2 weeks ago and of the effect that has had on your mobility and your life.

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