"When I was finally admitted for ..."

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Birmingham)

(as the patient),

What I liked

When I was finally admitted for my surgery the nursing staff and my new consultant were wonderful.

What could be improved

I was initially admitted for emergency discetomy surgery because of severe pain due to a 'slipped disc' in my neck in July 2009, the operation couldn't be done as my BP was too high. I was sent home to see my GP for medication and told I would be re-admitted as soon as my BP had reduced. My BP was monitored and it had dropped within 6 weeks, a report sent to my consultant. I was called in for a pre-op in Aug 09 to check and it was fine. Then nothing, no date for surgery. I had an appointment for Out Patients in Oct 09 and saw my consultants registrar who had no idea why I was there as my notes were 'all over the place'. I had to tell her that I was on the list for surgery and she had to check this was correct with his secretary and then sent me home saying that I should hear from them within 3 months even though I was still in considerable pain. During all this time I constantly rang to speak to my consultants secretary and the lady that books the surgery dates to no avail, I was consistantly told that there were no dates available as there were so many emergency admittances. I asked why my status had been dropped from emergency but was not given a viable answer. Each time I rang I was told it was going to be at least 3 months wait. I even agreed to change consultants if need be as my consultant had no space. My GP wrote in to plead my case but no difference. I contacted the PAL's office and asked if they could help, they passed my details to admin but nothing was done. I contacted them again in January 10 and they thought that my case had been dealt with. They then passed all details to the exectutive management office who contacted me and said there was nothing they could do as they had not any surgery dates available. I told them that I would be contacting my MP and within a week I had a call to say another consultant could operate and I finally had my surgery on Feb 15th, I have been left with possible permanent nerve damage in my hand due to the delay.

Anything else?

This was caused by bad management, administration and lack of consultant surgeons, if I hadn't kept on pushing I could still be waiting now. Even on the day of final admission they had failed to put my name on the surgery list but my new consultant managed to get me in and he has had to put on extra out patient clinics to enable him to see everyone. Everyone is entitled to NHS treatment within time limits but this is not happening in the neuroscience department,

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Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on your experience at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

We welcome all feedback and would like to assure you that all comments are taken seriously and acted upon as part of our ongoing commitment to improving patient experience.

We were very concerned to read about the experience you have had in relation to your admission for surgery. We strive to provide the highest standard of care possible and we are really sorry if we have not achieved this on this occasion.

Your comments have already been passed on to the staff who manage Neurosurgery, they are aware that there has been a problem and are implementing changes to improve the service provided to patients. For example we have recently employed two additional consultants to help ensure that patients receive their treatment in a timely manner. Sometimes however it is not possible to admit someone as planned, this may be due to a number of factors, one of which is that although we prioritise our waiting lists by clinical need and waiting time , emergencies sometimes have to take priority over elective cases. We continue to strive to improve communication with patients so that if there are delays we explain the reason why so that they understand that they have not just been forgotten.

It may be that these changes were too late to affect your experience and for this we are sorry but we are very grateful to you for bringing it to our attention as it means we can continue to focus on the real issues that affect our patients to ensure that we improve things for the future.

If you would like to discuss this further please contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service who will be pleased to assist you. You can contact them by phone 0121 627 8820, by email PALS@uhb.nhs.uk, via the hospital website http://www.uhb.nhs.uk/Patients/Pals/Contact.aspx or in person by dropping in between 9.30am-4.30pm (Mon-Fri) to the PALS office located near the main entrance.

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