"Outpatient Surgery"

About: Royal United Hospital

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I was referred to the RUH around Christmas for a booking with the ENT consultant. i was initially given an appointment for 6 weeks time at a different hospital but was later informed the hospital i had booked for did not have an ENT consultant and was given an earlier date at in mid january for RUH. When waiting to see ENT i waited for well over 4 hours to be treated by a Locum. Afterwards I was sent to pre-op assessment where i was informed I could do the assessment then or come back another day. I opted to stay and was waiting again for a further 3 hours. I was then given a date for surgery at the end of april but was told 2 weeks before the date that I would have to attend another pre-op assessment and it was not explained to me why I had to attend another. Upon attending my 2nd pre-op assessment even the nurses were confused as to why i was in for a 2nd time! Again waited for another 2 hours and while waiting a young lady was conducting a personal questionnaire of each person int he waiting room concerning peoples sexual orientation where everyone could hear. I was recently contacted the day before my surgery (12 hours before admission) to say my surgery had been cancelled due to bedding crisis. The lady who called me was very unsympathetic to the fact I have been waiting for treatment so long and been messed about - I have had constant pain in my forehead, nose and i cannot breathe through my nose at all. I recently took sick leave from work for 2 weeks to allow for recovery of the operations and due to cancelled surgery I am now over £500 out of pocket due to unworked hours and will be again when i finally get my surgery. I have reached the 18 week maximum waiting time and am not hopeful at being treated any time in the near future. very frustrating and no one seems to want to explain anything to me. The NHS and RUH have messed me round far too much with little to no explanation. I also suspect I will have to attend a 3rd pre op assessment appointment before I can even attempt to get my surgical procedure done.

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Response from Royal United Hospital

We apologise for the distress and inconvenience your experiences have caused. Without more details – your name and date of birth – it’s difficult for the Trust to offer a full explanation on this website and so we would urge you to contact the RUH so that we can discuss your complaints in more relevant detail.

However, we can offer some general explanations. All patients who require planned surgery are asked to attend the Pre-Operative Assessment unit. Here tests are carried out to ensure a patient is fit for surgery and that they are free from MRSA. Attendance is either via an appointment or via the drop in service and with the latter option; patients can expect to wait to be seen. If there is a time lag between being booked for the surgery and the procedure taking place then patients can expect to attend the Pre-Operative Assessment unit again, just to make sure they remain fit for surgery.

You mention that, “A young lady was conducting a personal questionnaire of each person in the waiting room concerning peoples sexual orientation where everyone could hear.” We believe you may be referring to our electronic patient feedback scheme we conduct across the Trust. We have taken on board feedback from some patients who don’t like being asked certain questions and we have taken steps to address this.

Our Elective booking team endeavour to offer patients a date for surgery within their 18 week ‘Referral to Treatment’ time frame, but due to urgent cases, complexity of the surgery and lack of capacity this is not always possible. Due to bed pressures within the Trust we have had to postpone a number of routine elective operations at very short notice. We do try to contact patients as soon as we can if their procedure has been postponed as we are aware that people often have family and work commitments that need to be re-arranged. Once again we are very sorry for the inconvenience you have experienced.

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