"27 wk wait for surgery and 3 cancelled..."

About: Addenbrooke's Hospital

It is with a heavy heart that I leave this feedback. I work for the NHS and I know how much demand there is in the system and how under pressure everyone working in it feels.

I have been on the waiting list for elective surgery for 27 weeks. Frustrated at this delay (and at not having received one single piece of correspondence about when I might have my procedure) I called for an update. The very helpful secretary I spoke to agreed that my case should be expedited and gave me a date for surgery for Wednesday 16th March. I was grateful that I was now on course to get a long-standing health issue resolved.

I arrived for the procedure and the nursing staff were very professional and made me feel at ease. I was on course for admission to theatre at the scheduled time of 1.15. After waiting until 2.45 the consultant arrived to tell me that my procedure had been cancelled due to a number of emergency admissions and a lack of alternative staff available. I was angry and disappointed but assured my case would be prioritised.

True to their word the consultant’s secretary called me the next day and offered me this Tuesday (22nd March) as the next available date. I was pleased with the proactive approach. I then received a phone call this Monday (21st) to cancel the appointment for a second time. However, I was informed there was a good chance that there would be a theatre slot available on Thursday 24th March and that I would get a call back the next morning to confirm this.

Again, I got a call early the next morning to tell me that the slot was available and that I would have my operation on Thursday 24th March. Later that same day I had another call to say that all routine operations had been cancelled on Thursday and that I was being bumped again. My operation is now scheduled for Tuesday 29th March, 2 weeks after the original date.

I cannot fault the communication from the secretary at Addenbrooke’s who has been apologetic and understanding every time they have called to deliver updates, most of which have been disappointing. What I do object is seeing the Addenbrooke’s Chief Executive on local television stating how much the Hospital is improving under their management. Claptrap. I had to chase the progress of my case. Once finally given a date I had to rearrange my work commitments at short notice, my wife’s work commitments (she works in a school so it is very difficult for her to get term time dates off) and the care of my children on 3 separate occasions only to be cancelled at even shorter notice. That is not proof of improving performance, it is proof of a lack of staff and inadequate planning. As I say, I work for the NHS and I know that these are difficult times so I understand cancellations can happen. But 3 times in the space of 8 days?!

Totally unacceptable.

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Response from Addenbrooke's Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to describe your recent experiences at Addenbrooke's.

I am very sorry to learn of the repeated short-notice cancellations and understand how frustrating and distressing this must have been.

As you point out, you are aware of the pressures and unpredictable demands on the system, but it is the case that a decision to cancel a patient's procedure is never taken lightly as we very much appreciate the distress and disruption this causes.

If you would feel able to provide some further details to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), we would be happy to look into the individual circumstances of your case and respond to you personally.

I would also be happy to pass on your comments to the appropriate senior staff.

Once again, I am sorry that you have had a poor experience and hope that your procedure has now been undertaken and that you are recovering well.

Complaints and PALS Manager

01223 216756


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