"Communication within my NHS Trust area"

About: Princess Royal Hospital / Rheumatology South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

(as the patient),

I am unfortunate enough to have several disabilities. I have neurological problems, spinal problems, Rheumatoid Arthritis (and associated Auto-Immune problems) I have also had 3 battles with cancer in my lifetime. In short, I am a paraplegic and use a power wheelchair because RA has stopped my ability to propel a manual chair.

Getting to hospital is a nightmare for a large number of patients who, like me, rely on Ambulance Transport. Indeed, patients like me with a Chronic Health problem are often placed on the Ambulance Service computer as 'registered' permanently for transport for the multiple hospital visits I have each year. Unfortunately, after seeing my physicians/surgeons, I ask for them to request transport on the sheet they give me to make my next appointment. 9 times out if 10, this doesn't happen and I only find out when my appointment letter arrives in the post. If I call the hospital, Out-patients appointments staff have told me they can't help. The Ambulance Service Transport office tell me they can't help (even given that as I understand it they can see the permanent transport status on their computer applying to me). I must get a request from the clinic doctor who has in my experience often said it's not their problem as permanent transport has already been requested. This causes me a great deal of stress which then causes my RA to 'flare' and causes much physical pain.

The other communication issue I have is that because of the system employed at my hospital means that clinical notes dictated by my doctors are sent abroad (South Africa, I think) for typing up. The notes are then sent back to the clinic physician but my GP doesn't automatically get a copy. This means that unless I have reason to see a doctor at my local GP surgery (and I rarely do have such an appointment), My GP is in the dark. This means that medication/treatment recommended by my hospital doctors can be difficult to obtain from my GP.

And all of the above problems are down to two things in my opinion, verbal/written communication between hospital doctors and GPs.

Thanks for reading my gripe, I wonder if other people have similar difficulties?

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››