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"Amazing Staff - Not so amazing system"

About: Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre Forth Valley Royal Hospital / Gynaecology

(as the patient),

In February 2017 I attended my GP with post-menopausal bleeding. I was referred to Gynaecology where I was seen by Dr McQueen and nursing staff who were supportive and caring. I was scheduled to have a minor procedure within a short space of time and following the procedure was told that I would require a full hysterectomy as there were cancerous cells in my womb.

The operation was scheduled for early July, however I received a phone call cancelling, with no explanation as the person on the phone said they are not given any details of why. I contacted gynaecology and Dr Siddiki, the surgeon called me back and asked for me to come to see her. 

At this visit Dr Siddiki explained very well why my operation had been cancelled and I started a course of treatment that day which would then lead to my operation after 6 months. The distress caused to me by scheduling and cancelling the operation could have been alleviated by a system which allowed Dr McQueen to refer me to the Oncology clinic prior to scheduling an operation.

During the following months I underwent a series of tests and lost some weight to prepare me for my operation and in January 2018 Dr Siddiki and I agreed the operation should go ahead as soon as she could arrange it. However, yet again the system kicked in. I was given a date for my operation with a different surgeon and when I queried it was told it didn't matter who did it. Well, it mattered to me. If it was an emergency it wouldn't matter, but I had spent months building trust and being supported by Dr Siddiki and the staff around her. This was a difficult time in my life and I wanted the person I trusted to operate. I had to insist on speaking to Dr Siddiki and between us we managed to arrange for a time suitable to us both for my operation.

I have had my surgery and recovered well thanks in no small part to Dr Siddiki, the nursing staff, anaesthetist and also the staff at Beatson, Glasgow who undertook my follow up radiotherapy. I cannot praise the care staff enough, they are amazing, but their job would be so much easier if the system was improved.

I appreciate that with finite resources the NHS tries to streamline the business by having a central booking service, however, it is impersonal, the admin staff are efficient but do not understand the needs of patients and clinicians for continuity of care. Transfer the bookings to the clinicians secretaries so that all patients have the care I received through my bloody mindedness. Not all will question, and therefore not all will have their mental health looked after as well as their physical health.

Please listen to how patients feel. We are vulnerable when we come into your care, nursing staff and Dr's understand this, time for the administrators to understand it too.

Thank you to all the amazing people who have played their part in my recovery, you are worth your weight in gold.

Responses

Response from Nicole McInally, Patient Experience and Public Involvement Team, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear Recovered

Thank you for your sharing your story on Care Opinion. It is clear from your post how much you value the support from all the staff involved in your care. I am sure that the staff will appreciate your kind words.

Take Care

Nicole

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Response from Gail Bell, Deputy Head of Midwifery, Women and Children, NHS Forth Valley

Dear Recovered

Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences, both good and bad, and the frustrations encountered during recent ill-health. I hope you’re surgery has been successful and that you are on the road to full recovery.

It was heartening to read such wonderful feedback about the excellent care and support from the staff who helped you through this worrying time and I will make sure they see the posting. I know they will be delighted to read it.

It is extremely important to us that our patients are listened to and treated with respect by caring staff especially at such times of vulnerability and that their feelings and wishes are taken in to account. We have systems in place which we hope benefit everyone and ensure relevant and timely care but it seems that we have a bit of learning to consider from your comments and I am very sorry that we didn’t get the whole journey quite right for you.

I will share your posting with colleagues and ask them to see how we can improve on our patient journey and experience in similar situations.

Once again I would like to wish you a speedy recovery and continued good health.

With best wishes

Gail

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