"Confused over conflicting information at Raigmore Hospital"

About: Raigmore Hospital / Ear, Nose & Throat

(as the patient),

I recently underwent a change of consultant in my care for a neuroma in my ear. One consultant previously advised me to have an MRI scan every two years to check up on it, and to make contact any time there were any changes or problems with my ear. A letter from another consultant said that I would only have to have a scan every five years, as the neuroma was shrinking, which I thought was fair enough.

Recently, however, I had an incident where I did have a problem with my ear, and so on the advice of the first consultant I contacted the ENT clinic. I was told that the consultant would contact me, but didn't hear anything for some time, eventually getting an appointment for 5 months time.

I attended this appointment recently, and was surprised to find that the consultant seemed to think the neuroma the least important aspect of the consultation, and told me to contact my GP in future if I had a similar problem. From my point of view, the issues I went in for was not addressed, and made me feel that I shouldn't have contacted the hospital, despite being told to do so by the first consultant. This puzzled me, as there didn't seem to be a change in my condition, but it suddenly seemed to be of little importance or interest. I was made to feel that I didn't understand the letter sent to me, and the I'd bothered the consultant unnecessarily.

The long round trip really was a waste of a day, and left me feeling very confused after being giving conflicting information by consultants.

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Response from Maimie Thompson, Head of Public Relations and Engagement, Chief Executive's Office, NHS Highland

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Thank you for taking the time to share your recent experiences. I am sorry that it has left you feeling confused which must be unsettling. We do know from all our work on patient feed-back that getting our communications right with patients is hugely important. And one thing that causes worry is when they hear conflicting advice from staff. We try hard very hard to make sure there is consistency and we work within agreed Standards and Protocols. There will always be some variation and differences of opinion it will usually be possible for these to be explained. I obviously can't comment on the specifics but I will share your feed-back with the Head of Service and hope we can identify any learning.

If you would like to speak with me or a member of Raigmore Hospital then please do get in touch. You can contact me via e-mail maimie.thompson@nhs.net or on 01463 70 4927. We also have a formal complaints procedure and I can talk you through that should you feel that course of action would be helpful. We are committed to learning from feed-back as we believe we can always improve. Regards

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Response from Maimie Thompson, Head of Public Relations and Engagement, Chief Executive's Office, NHS Highland

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Since the original posting, NHS Highland followed up this query with the Head of Service. I got a reply on 21st November and I'm really sorry that I haved not posted it before now. Our Head of Service is Dr Angus Cain, and he fed back as follows:

"The story is obviously complex but without the patient details and notes it is unlikely we could get to the bottom of the problem.

We have a well organised follow up system for patients with acoustic neuromas but the follow up criteria have changed recently. Perhaps this is at the root of the misunderstanding. If the patient wishes this to be looked into I would be happy to oblige."

If edge714 would like to get in touch, please contact maimie.thompson@nhs.net in the first instance. While this may not help edge714 it may be we can improve our communications to the benefit of other patients. Again thank you for bringing this to our attention.


Maimie Thompson

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