"A very long delay between referral and treatment"

About: Crosshouse Hospital / General Surgery

(as the patient),

 Last year I went to see my GP regarding a possible hernia - nothing serious just a wee bit uncomfortable - I was examined and a hernia was diagnosed and I was told I'd be referred to the hospital consultant. Five and a half months later I got an appointment with the surgeon. In the meantime I had called my GP's office a couple of times and was told I was on the waiting list, but not given any contact details so I could follow up on an expected date for surgery.

Anyway the surgeon appointment went well, and I was tested for all kinds of things to make sure I'd survive surgery and then a few days later I had another letter from the surgeon's office to say I was now on a waiting list with a guaranteed date of surgery during the next 12 weeks.

My hernia is now quite large and uncomfortable and is causing me some distress at times. but not as much as the frustration I feel over the long delay between seeing my GP and eventually getting this thing fixed.. A phone call from someone at Crosshouse to say "look we're awfully busy and we're understaffed so we can't see you for a couple of months" would certainly have helped - I didn't even know if the hospital had any details of my GP visit and had no way of finding out. Or perhaps the GP could have followed up for me and let me know if any delay was forseen, but to be left for 5 1/2 months with no communication is, I feel, not how our NHS should behave towards its customers.

Oh and another thing...sorry if this is getting boring, but on the bottom of the letter from my surgeon it said "we welcome your comments and feedback" giving and email address, a website with feedback button and a phone number, so, feeling a bit peeved I wrote a long email to the address given and sent it off - only for it to be pinged back with an undeliverable no such address note pinned to it! ! Frustration mounting I opened the website and clicked on the feedback button - guess what - nothing - not a sausage so I got on the phone and called a nice helpful young lady who gave me the correct email address (which MUST BE UPDATED on surgeon's letters! ) I sent off my grumpy old git email and have since had several lovely phone calls from helpful customer-care folk in the NHS who have explained various things and tried to make me feel better about the delay. I think my complaint is about to be closed off but PLEASE, PLEASE do something about communicating better with patients who are left stuck in a black hole of silence for months at a time. It's just not right! But, God bless the NHS even with its failings : )

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Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

picture of Eunice Goodwin

Dear frustrated1,

I understand the use of 'frustrated' in your user name and I am so sorry that you experienced a delay and waited so long without communication about it.

I wonder if you would like to contact me to discuss this, I would need your CHI number, name, address and what surgeon you are under (if you know this). I have at least a couple of questions I could ask on your behalf if you wish -

- When did your GP refer you/when was your referral received by the hospital? (therefore was any delay at this point?)

- How much longer are you likely to wait? (this would remain an estimate as it varied according to various factors e.g. the emergencies that pop up)

- I will also ask what the procedure should be when there is a long wait or a delay to the waiting list. Sorry, I am not sure whether there is one or not.

I have requested that the bottom of the letters no longer states the wrong information. I am sorry, this was an oversight on my behalf. As part of the review to streamline the feedback process, the customer care inbox was closed and the quick feedback button has been temporarily disabled. I did not realise this information was included in some letters, please accept my apology. I have requested this is now removed. The new NHS Ayrshire and Arran website and feedback process will complement the very helpful Patient Opinion feedback process when we are ready to launch it but we still have some work to do before we can do so.

Thank you so much for raising this with us, it enables us to ask the questions and see if there is a way to make it better. I appreciate that the delay and the communication around this has been an issue but I will get back to you about this after some discussion.

Again, I am sorry you have had such a difficult and wait with poor communication on several levels. I do hope you get your operation soon.

If you wish to contact me, you can call me on 01563 826222, or email me on eunice.goodwin@aapct.scot.nhs.uk

Kind regards,


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