Posted by Margaret Targett
Full marks for everything else, but real reservations for post-operative communication. Something has slipped through several cracks and seems inconsistent with the Horton NHS Treatment Centre's otherwise fine reputation. This curious sequence of events isn't the end of the world, but rather an ongoing puzzle. I'd prefer not to make a complaint, but I've contacted the orthopaedics department by phone twice and the surgeon in writing -- all to no avail.
I had a knee arthroscopy on 29th April (a Friday afternoon before a Bank Holiday weekend). I was surprised that following the surgery no one spoke to me about how it had gone or what had been done. Four days later I phoned the department to enquire about accessing this information. The surgeon's secretary wasn't in, but a receptionist took my number, said they would pass it along, and that someone would get back to me. No one did.
Ten days later I check with my GP's office -- they had received only a discharge form but no post-operative report of what had been found or done.
I then wrote directly to the surgeon saying that neither my GP nor I (and consequently my physiotherapist) knew whether a partial meniscectomy had been performed or any other findings, and asked for more information. There was no response.
Eights weeks post-op at the follow-up appointment the surgeon told me that the Department's practice was that prior to discharge every surgical patient was spoken to by a registrar to explain how the operation had gone and to receive their take-home medication. (A nurse brought my meds.) The surgeon alsaid that each time a patient was seen at the Horton a letter was sent to the GP. The surgeon seemed sure that this would have occurred, but didn't appear to have the report.
Ten days later I again checked that my GP practice had no report of the procedure before ringing the ortho department a second time to be sure that the report had indeed been sent. Once more a secretary took my number, said they would look into it and that someone would let me know. It's now a week later and I've heard nothing.
I hope my experience is a 'one-off', but thought it worth noting, as there is still no post-operative report in my permanent medical record.
Guidelines from the Royal College of Surgeons stipulate that "when the patient is discharged from hospital, appropriate information is shared with the patient" and that "all relevant information should be sent to the patient's GP . . . ".
In the interests of continuity of care and future reference, I'd be grateful to know if and when a post-operative report was sent, or if for some reason it's gone astray, how it might be made available.