"My daughters cancelled surgery"

About: Birmingham Children's Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as a parent/guardian),

I am frustrated and upset for my daughter who was due an operation today on her thumbs at Birmingham Children's Hospital Her quality of life is rubbish due to her thumbs as her fine motor skills are greatly impeded.

We were offered a last minute cancellation on Thursday evening for today (mon) which we were so happy about as we have been waiting over two years to move forward.

We spent the entire weekend doing the right thing by preparing her for her operation, talking to her and her very emotionally anxious big sister. Showing her the PowerPoint specifically created for preparing a young child for surgery, only to be told this morning as we were leaving the house that the operation had been cancelled. They could offer no further appointment or any reassurance that the operation will occur soon. I was understandably shocked and upset and asked to speak to someone else. My reasoning was that it is a 20 minute procedure and a day case. The secretary assured me that the manager would call me back in a few minutes and an hour later I had heard nothing so I phoned back. Only to be told the same thing. I then waited a further hour still nothing. I asked my husband to phone back who was advised by the secretary that the operation "probably" won't happen. That doesn't mean definately and so this gives us false hope. He was advised that the manager would call me in a few minutes but to date, I still haven't heard anything. My husband has to take the afternoon off to pick up our other daughter but doesn't know if he needs to or not, I have take time off work and have no idea what's going on, my eldest daughter has emotional probs and this year was referred to CAMHS, due to her anxiety and emotional sensitivity, I have epilepsy that is bought on by stress and more to the point, my daughter is very little and is very confused and upset.

I don't understand why a hospital that prides itself on the health and wellbeing of children can then allow this to happen. The affect of a cancelled appointment and then a massive lack of communication is shocking and unacceptable. We are still waiting to hear whether or not my daughter is going in today or not, so then I can feed her as she has been on nil by mouth all morning. This kind of customer care makes me want to go private even when I am a strong advocate of the NHS.

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Response from Janette Vyse, Deputy Head of Nursing, Patient Experience & Participation Lead, Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Daiseydigg,

Please accept my apologies for the cancellation of your daughter's operation and the distress it has caused. I am sorry also about the lack of communication. Will you please tell your daughter we are sorry too.

We make every effort to avoid any cancellation as we do recognise the distress it can cause, and we know there is a lot of planning involved when preparing to come in to hospital and how upsetting and frustrating it is for all of the family when that admission or operation does not happen. There are times when, due to emergencies it is unavoidable but please be assured we are continuously looking at how we can improve to make sure this is on as few occasions as possible.

If you have still not heard from us or have not been given another date for your daughters operation or you wish to discuss the cancellation or anything else further please contact our PALS team on 0121 333 8403 who will be able to help you or if you would prefer to speak to Debbie Walsh, Lead Nurse for Surgery please contact the main switchboard on 0121 333 9999 and ask for her by name.

With kind regards,

Janette Vyse

Deputy head of Nursing

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