"How can treating vulnerable patients like this be justified?"

About: Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow / Blood vessel problems Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow / Neurology

(as a parent/guardian),

My son was placed on the waiting list for brain surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital unit at the end of January this year. He was told that this should take place within 12 weeks. After about 6 weeks during an appointment with his neurologist he asked if a date had been set by the neuro-vascular surgeon. The neurologist said to contact the surgeon's secretary (with no indication of what has occurred). He did this and was horrified when she informed him that all non-emergency surgery was on hold as there had been a sewage leak at the unit into the recovery areas.

From conversations I have had with a member of the Complaints Dept, I am amazed to learn that no official notification was ever sent to others on the waiting list. I have contacted his local MP and also emailed the First Minister and have received replies basically with the same answer - responsibility of local NHS authority and not responsibility of government, everything is being done, patients being sent to other hospitals for surgery, unit being refurbished and in 2017 we'll have a state of the art unit.

I was informed today that surgery has resumed but there are now drainage problems which are causing difficulties for patients and staff when repIrs have to be carried out. There is now a 12 week delay on top of the original waiting time for patients. I can't help but wonder if this lack of ongoing publication of information about this 'scandal' is political.

My son has been unable to work for over a year because of his condition and this delay and uncertainty has added more stress to what is already a very stressful situation. He visited his GP this week who was incredulous when he told her what had been happening as she had no knowledge of the leak. She said she would have expected all GPs in the west of Scotland would have been informed about this. I was told that over 100 patients have been affected. How can treating vulnerable patients like this be justified?

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Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear Incredulous Mum,

I completely understand the frustration you have expressed here, and the additional stress that you and your son are feeling. I can also see that you have raised your concerns through a few different channels already and I'm sorry if the responses you have had have not fully addressed the questions you have.

While I don't personally have the answers to the points you have raised here, I thought it was important that I write back to acknowledge your post and to let you know that I have sent it on to colleagues who are much closer to this. What we will do is come back to you as soon as possible with more information around the points you raise here. I hope this is ok.

In the meantime, I wish you and your son all the best,


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