"Last second cancellation inconvenient and distressing"

About: King's Mill Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as a relative),

King's Mill Hospital, Mansfield. I took a day off work to accompany my Wife for her first appointment with a consultant. We drove from Nottingham to Mansfield. At reception, my Wife was told the appointment had been cancelled because insufficient information had been sent to the department. The receptionist said they had informed my Wife's GP, and that the GP surgery should have let her know the appointment had been cancelled.

For us, the cost of travel was not a burden, but for many people it would be. It's hard to convey the distress of a situation like this. My Wife, obviously worried about her condition, had prepared herself as one does for hearing what treatment options there might be. In a situation like this you feel a sense of hope that your condition might be helped, but of course you also prepare yourself in case the news is bad. In this case we expected to be told that hazardous surgery would be offered. That meant my Wife faced making a decision to possibly decline help. The choice would be whether to accept help that has a certain percentage chance of paralysing her, or decline help, ensuring a lifetime of pain and worsening limits on movement.

A letter informing the patient the appointment is cancelled is not just administrative, - it is part of the care. This was not just inconvenient, - it was very distressing, and sending a letter cancelling the appointment is absolutely basic. There can be no excuse for a failure of this kind.

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