"All the consultants and staff ..."

About: Wrightington Hospital

(as a relative),

What I liked

All the consultants and staff bar one and their secretary. The nurses and secretaries at the hospital itself were a credit to the hospital and the National Health Service, as were the liaison team who dealt with my mother's complaint.

What could be improved

The attitude and helpfulness of my mother's clinical consultant and their secretary was absolutely shocking. My mother was on the waiting list to get a knee replacement for four years and never met her consultant once. Any attempts at making enquiries with the consultant were unsuccessful. Their secretary never answered the phone, and eventually they palmed her off to another consultant in Manchester. The secretary informed her of this a day before her arthroscopic surgery, and told her that it had already been finalised, completely over my mother's head. My father used his last remaining holiday to take her to the hospital, only to find it had been cancelled 24 hours before the appointment in question. My mother then rang back requesting more information about her new consultant and for the rest of the afternoon the phone either rang off the hook or was engaged.

Anything else?

My mother was forced to give up her job, her hobbies and the ability to drive because of her condition. Her Christmas was ruined when her consultant promised to have her in surgery before then, so she cancelled all her appointments because they couldn't give her a definite date for surgery. I am writing this on the 1st February 2010, three months after they made that promise to her, and 2 hours after their secretary rang to cancel her arthroscopic surgery.

This consultant, who shall remain anonymous lest it be used as an excuse to keep this complaint unpublished, is an absolute disgrace to the legions of doctors and nurses who work hard helping people every day of their working lives. The consultant and their secretary had no respect, compassion or empathy for her throughout the years they were her consultant (and I use that term very loosely). An official complaint has been lodged with the assistance of my mother's GP, who again, like 99% of the staff my mother met during this ordeal, did their utmost at every turn to help her to the very best of their abilities.

Story from NHS Choices

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