"Getting local help for my eyes"

About: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary / Ophthalmology (Eye Problems) Gilbert Bain Hospital / Ophthalmology

(as the patient),

Before I went on holiday last summer I’d been using eye drops I got from one of the local opticians to treat an eye complaint.

While I was on holiday abroad I had complications with my eyes and was in pain and so on my way back to Shetland, I called in at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for help and I was admitted as a patient. I was discharged back to Shetland with four different lots of eye drops and an Aberdeen phone number to call in case of difficulties.

I did have to use the number because I found using the eye drops was quite complicated, but it isn’t easy describing problems over the phone. Also I ran out of some steroid eye drops and the local pharmacy couldn’t find a supply very easily. That time, the pharmacy at the Gilbert Bain Hospital was able to help and I was very grateful for that and the help and advice I got from the local opticians.

But I really wished that there had been someone in Shetland that I could have called who would have known about my case and my treatment. I have been back to the clinic in Aberdeen and I have got an outpatient’s appointment with the Visiting consultant at the eye clinic in Shetland in July. But I’m sure that there must be other people in Shetland with eye problems who have been in the same position as I was and I wonder if I could get some advice on how to get help between appointments.

I don’t think people realise how difficult it can be when you have a problem with your eyes; there were days when I just felt so upset I cried and other days when I thought ‘I’m not going to let this beat me’ .

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Response from Carolyn Hand, Corporate Services Manager/Complaints Officer, Chief Executive's Department, NHS Shetland We are preparing to make a change

Thank you for the feedback. We were very sorry to hear that you didn't get support between appointments following your eye injury. We will discuss this matter with NHS Grampian and ensure that any patients accessing the specialist eye service in Aberdeen have a point of contact in Shetland that can help co-ordinate and provide advice as needed.

As a general point, the GP is sent copies of correspondence from all hospital appointments (including those from Grampian and other services such as the Optician/Optometrist) and is a point of contact for patients to help manage their pathway (e.g. advice or help with treatments in your case eye drops).

We will make sure that it is clear as part of the information given to patients who access Aberdeen services how to access advice and support in between appointments, including a local contact as appropriate.

Thank you again for sharing your experience with us, this has helped us to look at patient information and the communication between Aberdeen and Shetland services which we will revise as a result of your comments.

Kathleen Carolan, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals

Simon Bokor-Ingram, Director of Clinical Services

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