"A recent appointment for cataract treatment."

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital / General surgery

(as a relative),

The appointment was booked for 08: 30 so we arrived at 08: 15 which gave us plenty of time to book in. We were told that my mother was fifth on the list and each operation takes 15 to 20 minutes max. so by our calculation the whole time spent would be no longer than 2 hours. My father, who is 89 years old and not in the best of health was left at home to fend for himself not knowing why we were kept so long. My Mother eventually went down for her op at 12. : 00 midday which was at least 90 minutes later than expected, there was no explanation as to why she was delayed we were just told to complain to the doctors. The staff were made aware on arrival my mother suffers with high blood pressure and was very worried and frightened about the operation and we were assured she would be escorted by a nurse to help during the op and the doctor would be made aware also.

While my Mothers operation was in progress another patient informed me that her appointment was for 09: 15 and she apologised and said she felt embarrassed by the fact she had already had her op before my Mother and was aware of how anxious my mother was.

We were informed by our GP that while we were at the hospital my mother needed a chest x-ray for another unrelated condition so when I asked if due to the delay we could go for the x-ray we were told no as once we checked in we were not allowed to leave the department. If we had known previously we would have had the x-ray first before checking in for the operation. This resulted in us having to return the following morning for the x-ray resulting in more expense to me in parking fees.

By the time we arrived home after the visit we had spent over 5 hours away and this caused unnecessary stress and worry on my father who although we kept him informed he was naturally concerned.

So to conclude why was the appointment made so early when she was fifth on the list of six?

Why did people arrive after my Mother with later appointments for the same op but were seen before her?

When we queried this we were told the Doctor made the decision on who was operated on and in what order even though they were all there for the same op.

Why was the appointment times not kept to?

Were the doctors aware the patients were supposed to be seen in accordance with their appointment times and not in a random order which would involve causing even more stress on those waiting?

Why were we not offered any sort of refreshment or informed of what was going on?

When we tried to complain to the nurse we were told not to complain to them but to the doctor so when my mother did complain she was basically ignored.

Finally to add insult to injury we were charged an extortionate rate for 5 hours parking which had already cost me the loss of a days wages.

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Response from University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on your experience of the Outpatient Department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

We welcome all feedback and would like to assure you that all comments are taken seriously and acted upon as part of our ongoing commitment to improving patient experience.

We were very concerned to hear about the problems you experienced when you attended the outpatients department for your mother’s cataract operation. This is certainly not the type of experience we would want anyone to have as a patient under our care. We strive to provide the highest standard of care possible and we are very sorry that we have not achieved this on this occasion.

Your comments have been forwarded to the relevant senior managers responsible who will look into what happened and why this occurred. The lead consultant and nurse manager are both aware of your comments and will be reviewing the process in clinic. The nurse manager will be talking to staff in their next departmental meeting about communicating with patients and relatives.

We apologise that there was a delay with your mother’s appointment and that you were not kept informed of the situation during your visit. We do offer refreshments to patients but these are only provided after surgery, in case sedation or further anaesthetic is required in theatre.

We would be very grateful if you would contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) to discuss your experience further. This will enable us to fully investigate the concerns you have raised. We will then be able to take the relevant action to make improvements that will benefit patients in the future.

You can contact PALS by phone 0121 371 3280, by email PALS@uhb.nhs.uk , via the hospital website http://www.uhb.nhs.uk/pals-form.htm or in person by dropping in between 10-4pm (Mon-Fri) to the PALS office located to the left of the Information Desk in the main entrance of the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

Thank you again for taking the trouble to post your comments on the Patient Opinion website.