"Lack of communication by neurosurgeon"

About: Western General Hospital / Neurosurgery

(as the patient),

I have been treated by a neurosurgeon for a number of years. During this time I have experienced a repeated problem with his communication with me.

He has ignored letters and phone calls from me, my spouse and several other health professionals involved with my care. He simply seems to ignore the communications. His secretary is frequently unavailable and is dismissive and unhelpful.

Although I have tried to be understanding and tolerant of this behaviour it feels very arrogant and profoundly disrespectful. This has made me feel very upset and very angry.

I have also come to the conclusion that he continues to behave in this way because the system does not challenge him and insist that he behaves more appropriately. Other health professionals have described this behaviour as "appalling" and have assured me that "it is not personal" since other patients treated in this department recount similar experiences. Despite this, none of them have complained about it to my knowledge and their letters to him avoid any criticism and adopt an almost grovelling tone. Some have encouraged me to to make an official complaint but this feels very difficult because I am dependent upon him and he will be operating on me.

I can understand that someone with the skills needed to be a neurosurgeon may not be very good at communication with people. So I would like to suggest that another member of the neurosurgical team, perhaps a nurse specialist, is given a linking role so that the patient is not ignored in this apparently contemptuous way.

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