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I have sent this email to the CEO at st Richards (it hast bounced back yet!) I copied the consumer relatons email in too so someone will get it.
I am spekng personally but I am sure that what I have said resonates with those of you in the same position xx
Tuesday, 31 January 2012, 12:57
Dear Ms Griffiths
My name is Katy Jener and I was due to have a gastric Bypass operation by Mr Chris Pring tomorrow morning, 1st feb,at St Richards.
I attended the Loxwood centre last thursday to have further blood tests as my pre op samples were insufficient, but when I arrived as planned, there was no one from the bariatric team availible and my blood forms were not at the desk where I was told they would be.
I was very concerned that this delay would cause my surgery to be postponed and spent three hours with a fantastic respiratory nurse specialist (unfortinatley I do not have her name) who happened to greet me at the reception. She made numerous calls to find out what was happening and comforted me when I became distressed but I left chichester without any blood being taken.
I spent the following day (friday 27th) making telephone calls to the Bariatric office and the Loxwood centre but no one was able to help me. I asked numerous times what the problem was but I was given many excuses such as lack of staff, sickness etc but no real reason as to why this may be happening. I was told by the bariatric office that they would call me back before the close of the working day but this didnt happen either. I then spent the weeknd worrying about whether I would be able to have my operaton.
I spoke to many members of the streamline surgical forum who informed me that many of them had operations cancelled, pre and post op appointments cancelled but no one knew the reason why.
I contacted admissions and Debbie Sankey in the bariatric office on monday moring and they could tell me only that they were dealing with theatre and clinic lists on a day by day basis and were still unable to give me any answers.
At 1630 on monday 30th of January, I recieved a call from admissions to inform me that my operation had been cancelled indefinitley and to stop my pre op diet and eat normally. I still had not been given a reason although I was told that it was not the delay in blood tests that had causd the problem but that all bariatric services had been suspended.
I write today to express my disgust at the way in which this situation has been handled. I understand from some investigation that a contractual disagreement between St Richards and Streamline surgical has resulted in bariatric services being suspended.
You will know that many of the bariatric patients which turn to St Richards for treatment are not local and we travel many miles for appointents etc. Indeed I had made a number of arrangements including a hotel reservation which has now been lost at some
expense. My partner took a week of annual leave to be with me and I had arranged transport via friends and family for the 80 mile round trip.
The decision to have Bariatric surgery is not taken lightly and I believe I speak for many of my fellow patients when I say that to fall at the last hurdle is a crushing blow. The majority of us have spent up to 2 years waiting for the operation date to come. The pre op patients have been on liquid only diets for 2 weeks and have overcome a number of psychological hurdles prior to having this surgery so in addition to the practicalilties of having surgery far from home and preparing for life post operativley, we now find ourelves in a psychological mess following this news. Those who have had surgery and now find themselves with no support network are also struggling and this is not good enough.
I believe that the PCT’s who commision bariatric services from St Richards have come to expect a level of excellence as have the individuals who choose to have their surgery with you (yes we CHOOSE!) and to be let down by the one place that we felt we could turn to is disastarous.
I work as a Senior Sister in an Accident and Emergency department and have worked for the NHS for nearly 18 years. I find it very frustrating that I can impress the inportance of communication onto my junior staff and encourage them to do so in order to improve the patient experience, yet a supposed ‘centre of excellence’ is unable to offer the same courtesy to its patients.
The aim of this letter is to request transparency and an open and honest explanation as to why this is happening.
I believe letters with full explanations to all Bariatric patients in your care are required in addition to a statement on the trust website explaining the plans that are being put in place in order to manage the service and fulfill the obligation you have as an organisation notwithstanding your duty of care.
I would also like to point out that I believe the trust has an obligation to refund any expenses such as hotel bills to patients who have been put out of pocket by this situation.
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convienience.