"Communication Black Hole with Urology Department at Southmead Hospital, Bristol"

About: Southmead Hospital / Urology

(as the patient),

I received a letter dated mid March confirming that an outpatient appointment with Southmead Hospital's Urology Service had been made for me at the start of April early in the morning at The Brecon Unit Southmead Hospital.

This presented two problems.

- I could not get there on that day in time for the appointment.

- I had not made any arrangements or been consulted as regards what the appointment was about.

I telephoned the numbers at the top of the letter and got through eventually to the Brecon Ward. Because the appointment was with the outpatient Urology service the Brecon Unit could not help me but suggested I ring the number they gave me for the Urology Outpatients service.

I did this 4 times during the next 3 days but each time my call was taken by an answering machine.

I left my Hospital reference numbers shown at the head of my letter, my name, address, phone number and details of the appointment, with a request that someone call me back to discuss the matter when they were free.

After a further 2 days having received no response to my telephone calls I wrote a letter to the Urology Service outpatients Department explaining the situation and asking if someone could contact me.

The day of my appointment arrived still with no response from Southmead.

On the afternoon of my appointment I received a telephone call from the hospital telling me I had not turned up for my appointment. I explained the situation and that I had left messages on the answering machine as well as sending a letter. I was told that there was no record of my calls or letter and offered platitudes and apologies! I was told that another appointment would be made for me sometime at the end of April.

I asked if they could tell me what the appointment was about and was told the consultant had arranged for me to have a "pre med" examination and if it was ok he would arrange for me to come in for the same procedure as I had last time within a few days.

I asked if patient consent was no longer applicable these days and was told the consultant had probably arranged to have my consent on the morning of admission probably as I was being wheeled down to theatre.

I suggested that this was not compatible with the NICE guidelines for hospitals and asked if the consultant could telephone me asap to sort out this problem.

From past experience this request will also disappear down the "Black Hole".

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Response from Steven Sykes, Advice & Complaints Team Manager, North Bristol NHS Trust

Dear Weshlad - I am sorry that you continue to have concerns about your treatment. I understand you may already have met with staff to discuss your care, and you did not raise any of the above concerns at this meeting.

The Trust has offered to investigate any further concerns you may have through our earlier responses to you on the NHS Choices website. I reiterate that we would be very happy to assist in this way and I regret that so far you do not feel able to accept this offer and contact us.

Once again you can do this via the complaints@nbt.nhs.uk email link.


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