"Superb medical staff, atrocious organisation"

About: Salisbury District Hospital

While I have nothing but praise for the skill of the surgeons and the dedication of the nursing staff, getting access to treatment at Salisbury has been an ongoing nightmare, and has left me literally holding my intestines in place for years.

I was first referred across to Salisbury District almost two years ago, after previous surgery failed. Salisbury lost the referral. The resulting delay cost a few months, after which I was able to see a consultant. They, however, needed to confer with a colleague. This took six months to arrange. When I finally saw them I believed it was the final stage before surgery, but instead discovered that I had only that day been added to the waiting list - 10 months after being referred.

Months went on with no word from Salisbury unless I called up to enquire. The projected date for my operation moved from the end of 2015, to "after Christmas", to the first third of 2016, to May/June, and finally July.

Unfortunately this wasn't the end of the problems, as it appears that the operating theatres in Salisbury exist in a state of perpetual crisis. My treatment involved one large operation followed by a few smaller ones to close my abdomen. Three out of the four procedures were cancelled on the day at least once, often after I was left nil by mouth for the entire day with no effective communication between theatres and the wards (this also coincided with a heatwave, and left me suffering from dehydration to the point where the nurses had to put me on an IV drip).

I write this from my hospital bed, where I'm still waiting for the final small procedure to close up my stomach, but which I've recently heard has been cancelled again, with no explanation given. So far the delays have extended my hospital stay by a week, thereby blocking a bed that could have gone to another patient. As I mentioned, the quality of the treatment itself is exceptional, it's getting the hospital to arrange it that's such a struggle.

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Response from Salisbury District Hospital

Thank you for getting in touch, we are very sorry for the delays that you have encountered both as an outpatient and when you were with us.

We completely understand your frustration.

The emotional preparation ahead of going to theatre and then dealing with the disappointment of being told the procedure will not happen is upsetting.

The hospital has been experiencing unprecedented demand, including many patients with life-threatening trauma, and although we know that doesn’t change your experience, we want to reassure you that decisions to cancel procedures are not taken lightly. Hearing about your experience is very useful and we have shared your comments widely.

The clinical teams involved in your care were really pleased to hear their skill and dedication is appreciated.

We understand your procedure has now been completed and we all wish you a speedy and smooth recovery.

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