"Continued abscess woe"

About: Ipswich Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

After prolonged and repeated visits to my GP I was diagnosed with an abscess which needed urgent surgery. I was surprised it was suggested I attend ipswich hospital that afternoon for the operation. Having eaten that day this was not possible and I was booked in for surgery the next day. After a day of waiting in a hospital bed, late in the afternoon I was told surgery wouldn't happen that day and was sent home in the early evening and told to come back tomorrow.

This brings me to late September last year, when I had surgery to drain the very painful abscess on my buttock. I was told it would be left as an open wound and was sent home shortly afterwards in a bloodied bandage with no pads and no after care instructions. I was told to liaise with my GP surgery to have the wound dressed every 48 hours, which as it tuned out needed to be done twice a day.

Initially things seemed to heal quite well but as the weeks wore on I developed several infections and needed repeated courses of antibiotics. It became clear that something was wrong and it was thought a fistula was the likely cause and further surgery was needed. This was in late January and a scan has since confirmed the fistula and a second abscess.

During this time there has been repeated chasing on my part and by my GP. There have been moments of incredible efficiency - the blood test unit - showing the NHS working at its best. But this has been hugely outweighed by regular incompetence, which has included lost scan results and appointment booking chaos. The latter involved apparent impossibility to book a pre-op assessment to being sent two separate dates on consecutive days. On one of which there was no such clinic.

Three weeks after the pre-op assessment there was still no operation date. On Tuesday, I saw my GP for more antibiotics and to ask if he could discuss my case with the hospital and he called back to say a date had now been set for April 20th - almost 7 months since my initial surgery.

After what was thought initially to be successful surgery with a wound that had virtually healed, I find myself, after repeated infections and the constant weeping of puss and blood, back where I started - with another abscess in the same place which is as big (the size of a tennis ball) and painful as the original. I am in constant pain, can't drive, sit down or sleep, am suffering night sweats and fever in the day but have to wait a month for my next operation.

I have completely lost confidence in Ipswich hospital and the thought of this wait and the operation at the end of it is quite daunting to say the least.

Prior to this I was a fit, active 46-year-old man with little experience of the NHS. After seven months in its care I still have a seeping wound in a very sensitive place which has to be dressed at least twice a day. I feel I can't give proper attention to my job, I can't drive, socialise, sleep, or sit to eat. All in all I feel the care provided by the NHS has been inadequate and falls way short of the world class reputation we are constantly being told about.

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Response from Steve Bruce, Patient Experience Manager, The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust

Thank you for taking the time to post your feedback, we value all comments both positive and negative. I am really sorry that your experience did not meet your expectations and for any inconvenience caused. For me to investigate further could you please contact me on 01473 702101. Regards, Steve Bruce, Patient Experience Manager.

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