Operation cancelled at late notice on three occasions, frustrated patient claims

Thursday, 9 March 2017

NGER has been expressed after a West Tyrone man revealed that three arranged operations for a hernia repair have been delayed at late notice in only four months.
In the most recent incident, the man - who is aged in his 60s but wishes to remain anonymous - said he was only a 'mile from the gate' of the South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen, on February 22, when he received a call to tell him his operation was to be postponed.
He also claims he was in the hospital awaiting his procedure in early November when he was informed it would not be going ahead as planned only an hour before it was due to take place. The operation was rescheduled for approximately a month later, but he said it was also postponed, this time only at a day's notice.
On all three occasions, he had stopped taking medication in preparation for the procedure, he claims.
Cutting a frustrated figure, he told the Tyrone Constitution the situation "simply isn't good enough", a statement echoed by Mid Tyrone councillor, Bert Wilson.
He had wanted to undergo the procedure in the winter so he could tend to his farm during the summer months pain-free. Admittedly, the local man has also cancelled an appointment on his own accord on a separate occasion.
"The South West Acute Hospital was hailed as the greatest thing since sliced bread but in reality it has been a complete let down to me," the man said. "It isn't adequately staffed and there aren't enough beds."
Meanwhile, Mr Wilson slammed the situation as "nothing short of a disgrace".
"It's a disgrace there aren't any beds available to allow this man to proceed with an important operation," he said. "To be turned away for the third time is unbelievable. There are too many people, like this gentleman, who are waiting a desperate amount of time for an operation.
"Clearly there aren't enough beds in the SWAH and I would question why. I know the health packages at home are causing a problem, as there are many people in hospital who are ready to be released.
"As well as that, there aren't enough doctors and nurses available at the facility. There are possibly too many doctors emigrating and I feel there needs to be a system implemented to ensure they first work in Northern Ireland for at least five years."
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Western Trust said: "Respecting confidentiality the Western Trust does not comment on the individual treatment and care of its patients or clients. On occasions routine procedures are postponed for a variety of reasons and may occur more in times of increased pressure on the hospital and its services.
"The Trust will prioritise procedures, always ensuring those with the greatest clinical need will receive their treatment as quickly as possible. Priority is given to cancer and clinically urgent patients. It is regrettable when any procedure is postponed and the Trust apologises sincerely for inconvenience caused to the patient and their family.
"When procedures are postponed, our staff work hard to reschedule appointments for the patients affected."
 The spokesperson continued: "We would encourage anyone with a comment or complaint about a Trust service to raises it through the Trust's complaints process - the Patients' Advocate Office.
"The Patients' Advocate Office can be contacted on (028) 7161 1226. All complaints received are investigated promptly and a response issued to the person making the complaint as soon as possible."


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