"My mother's frustrasting experience at Aintree Hospital (part 2)"

About: University Hospital Aintree / Colorectal surgery

(as a relative),

Yesterday, we posted our story about my prolapse and how we were left in limbo regarding spirometry...here is an update after today's events.

This morning I telephoned Aintree pre op to find out what we do about the spirometry. In addition our GP receptionist was also trying. We telephoned for over an hour on various numbers but the phone just constantly rang. Our GP receptionist experienced the same - no answer. With this, we drove to Aintree Hospital. Upon arrival we just asked where do we go for a Spirometry. The receptionist remembered my mother from the previous day and once again apologised for the delays. She pointed us to ward 18. We made our way to ward 18 and upon arrival I just said my mother is here for a spirometry. No questions asked and a gentleman performed the test.

After the spirometry, we went to the customer service desk as I wanted to find out what happened next, as it's been 20 weeks or so since my doctor referred as urgent. Customer Service, quite a large desk with three chairs but no one around (why have a desk if not staffed? ). After a minute or so a security guard asked if he could help, we asked for a PALS, he looked blank and then said go speak to reception. The lady at reception was polite helpful and she telephoned PALS. Minutes later, someone introduced themselves as the PALS representative and showed us a meeting room. I explained all the issues and problems and asked if someone could explain/show us the patient care pathway and procedure date. I explained that every event so far had been laced with problems and I wanted reassurance that someone was taking responsibility for checking everything in order before she had her procedure and also, if someone could confirm when this urgent procedure (original referral back in June this year) would be undertaken. The PALS representative took some notes and said they would go and speak to Mr Skaife's secretary.

As promised, they returned 10 minutes later and said we could speak to Mr Skaife, who was currently in theatre. His secretary has left him a note and they will give us a call when he is free. I said we would go for a coffee in the meantime.

An hour later, the PALS representative returned to say Mr Skaife still in theatre and so she'd arranged for us to see a business manager. We went back in to the meeting room and ran through all the issues again. Once again, very pleasant person but not the decision maker however, though they did ring through to Mr Skaife's secretary and ascertain she'd been added to the waiting list. Added to the waiting list, my heart sank. We are back on a waiting list and still not sure what the pathway looks like. After further discussion, I asked if I could see a clinical person who could explain this to me. They explained no one available. I asked if I could see the Medical Director, but was told that we had to have a prior appointment. I asked if we could see anyone else? Eventually they found a clinical person to see us - a Senior Colorectal Nurse, who confirmed that all pre op assessments had been received and my mother was now on waiting list. The earliest date for the operation would be 15th January another 2 months away. The Senior Colorectal Nurse was very good and explained a number of things to my mother, I wish she'd been there back in July when we had the 1st appointment.

I am still confused over the pre ops assessment - what is the point of having the tests 2 months before the procedure? Surely you have them the week before especially given the condition of my mother's chest. An assessment now will certainly not be applicable in 2 months, given we are mid winter.

What I feel is missing here is common sense. If from the outset the pathway was clearly explained and at each stage no hiccups then we'd be fine. However the opposite has happened where she's received no pathway, no advice, no guidance, no medical support for medical aids and no indication of procedure date. In addition, at each stage there have been major hiccups, each time causing unnecessary distress and total confusion. All this additional stress to someone at 79 seems unfair and unreasonable and surely someone has to sit back and say... this has not gone to plan, we've made some errors, lets re-look and see how we can eliminate the distress we've caused.

We now need to wait another 2 months and I feel extremely sad and emotional for my 79 year old mother. I've gone passed the angry and annoyed, as I don't know what else to do. I cannot even imagine what stress and anxiety my mother is feeling, well that's not true because her parting words to the Senior Colorectal Nurse were..."I wonder what's the point in living".

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Response from University Hospital Aintree

We're very sorry that your mother and yourself feel so let down by the experiences which you have set out in these two postings. You've obviously talked to our Customer Services (PALS) team already but could we ask you to please contact them on complaints@aintree.nhs.uk so that we can look into this further. Once again, apologies.

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