"Terrible Administration"

About: Warwick Hospital

The surgeon's secretary and the surgery booking coordinator were both extremely blasé and uncaring and it got to the point where I was so frustrated in communicating with them that I could only do it through the Patient Liaison Team.

Needing approval from two other departments for my surgery I chased these up myself and received comments from the other departments saying they were surprised the surgeon's secretary had not been in contact with them. When I asked for their cooperation in this it was not forthcoming.

My surgeon said they wanted to keep me in for 48 hours as I did not have someone at home to care for me and because of my recent medical history, yet the booking coordinator said that they had not ticked that box on the form and it was normally just a day surgery. When I asked the booking coordinator to talk to the consultant, they said, "not to worry we still have three weeks to sort it out". I then received a letter telling me to go to the day surgery unit. When I questioned this with the PALS team I was told that "a bed would be made available if I need it after the surgery". Consequently I went into the operation with the worry of not knowing how to organise my aftercare and turning up to the wrong place on the day of surgery.

Having had two life-threatening illnesses in the last six months; recently having been in the Coronary Care Unit with a probable drug reaction and with an on-going heart condition, I told the booking clerk before my pre-assessment appointment that I would like to see the anaesthetist at the pre-assessment. The booking clerk's response was that it was a very routine operation and that the nurses are very well-qualified, but I could afterwards request to see the anaesthetist. At this point I said I would like to see the anaesthetist and that whilst things may be routine to them it is me who ends up in Intensive Care when things go wrong. To this the booking clerk's response was, "have you been in Intensive Care before then?". When I told them I had been in the Coronary Care Unit recently they said that the anaesthetist had reviewed my file and had referred me to the nurse for the pre-assessment.

The nurse at the pre-assessment was surprised by my recent medical history and I commented then how I was surprised that the anaesthetist would not see me because of this. Instead the nurse wished me good luck for the operation, which made me even more nervous. When I did meet the anaesthetist an hour before my operation the consultant came in and started giving them the background to my case, which I had been told they had already reviewed. At this point the anaesthetist commented how scared I looked. I was not told which anaesthetic I would have or how it would be administered and was not even sent a standard leaflet about anaesthesia before the operation.

Whilst everyone hopes they will receive good treatment when they have an operation and in the majority of cases things work well, the casual attitude of administrative staff and their routine approach to surgery created huge anxiety.

Story from NHS Choices

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