"My husband has a frozen shoulder"

About: NHS Western Isles Uist & Barra Hospital / Trauma & orthopaedics

(as other),

My husand has a frozen shoulder for the second time. This time it is his left side.

In March he attended a surgery appt and was given Ibuprofen and told that an appt would be made with Physio. This appt arrived for early May - is this the usual time scale for such an appt?

At the end of March I attended the surgery and asked that he be referred to a specialist due to the increase in pain in his shoulder. We finally received an appt for this for the the end of May. - is this the usual time scale for such appt?

With the increase of pain, he no longer sleeps a full night. I again contacted the surgery to ask for a stronger painkillers and he was given Dihydrocdeine, Diazepam & Paracetamol after seeing the Doctor the next day.

On that day he also had his Physio appt and was then given an appt for the on the day he also sees the specialist? - Should he not have been given weekly appt to help regulate the pain?

We contacted the surgery again to explain that the tablets given are no longer giving him pain relief and could they increase the mg. He received a phone call that afternoon from the surgery to go in the following day at 11. 10 and they would give him a cortisone injection, as this doctor was able to do this but on his arrival at the appt was told that he would not be given the injection...... and sent him away with more medication.

We are at the stage that neither of us are getting a full night sleep due to the pain being suffered by my husband. Could you please explain how much pain a person has to be in before they are treated correctly?

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Response from Denise Symington, PFPI Development Officer, NHS Western Isles

Dear Lachina

Thank you for taking the time to contact us about this. I am very sorry to hear that your husband has been suffering pain and loss of sleep.

I referred your query to our Physiotherapy Manager who has looked into the details and has provided me with the following information.

I have been advised that your husbands referral from your GP on the 3rd March indicated that this was a frozen shoulder of four months duration, and was triaged by physiotherapy staff as being routine (the referral showed no red flags, or serious concerns). It is normal practice to triage referrals into acute or routine priorities depending on the clinical information provided by the referrer. It is also normal practice to have a waiting list for routine physiotherapy appointments.

I understand that the first physiotherapy appointment was 9 weeks after referral. We apologise that this could not have been any sooner, however Physiotherapy is a very busy clinic with up to 400 new referrals per month, and every effort is taken to see patients within the 18 week referral to treatment time guidelines. I have been advised that at your husband’s review appointment it was agreed that due to your husband’s pain level that further physiotherapy would not be of assistance, and that an appointment was made to see a specialist practitioner at the next clinic in Uist and Barra Hospital at the end of May. I have been advised that this is a separate referral from the GP which was made on the 1st April. In the meantime the Physiotherapy team have advised that they are available to provide any advice they can in the interim whilst you await this appointment, with some additional information on the pattern of pain and recovery from frozen shoulder outlined below.

The pathology of frozen shoulder is that, in the early stage, stage 1, the shoulder will be irritable and sore, and can be acutely painful. The following link via NHS Choices about Frozen Shoulder explains further about the typical pattern, time frames and potential outcomes.


I hope that your appointment at Uist and Barra Hospital provides your husband with pain relief and that he soon begins to feel better.

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Response from Gina Alexander, Director, Care Opinion Scotland, Care Opinion

picture of Gina Alexander

Dear Lachina

I must apologise for the late publication of this response from Denise at NHS Western Isles. This was entirely due to an oversight on my part following an email conversation with Denise. The response was posted the day after you shared your experience.

I hope your husband is much improved now.

Warm wishes


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