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UK SURGERY - Missed a surgery call... is this fair?



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Hi everyone.

I thought I would pop this on here, and someone who is feeling incredibly frustrated and let down by the whole waiting process.

For context; I am waiting for a gastric sleeve date, after almost 5 years on the waitlist with the NHS based in England. Ironically, I could've paid for private surgery almost twice over with the amount of tax I've paid since waiting!

I have been 'at the top of the list' since October last year, and have done everything they have asked of me - kept my weight below my initial weight at the beginning of my consultations; diet change; lifestyle change; everything to try and help eleviate some of my PCOS symptoms whilst I wait. I'm just feeling so ticked off today.

I missed a call by a couple of seconds whilst I was driving to work, and had a gut feeling it would be from the hospital I'm having the surgery in. I tried to call back, but typical, it was a number that didn't receive incoming calls. I tried for 20 minutes to get through to the right department (had the phone put down on me when I was put through to the wrong team, and asked to be put back to the switchboard?). When I finally managed to call through to surgery admissions, I was advised that because I didn't answer the phone (despite LITERALLY not having a number directly to call back on), they had already called someone else and given my slot away.

Livid and heartbroken do not come close to how I felt today. I am so exhausted of the waiting game, even moreso when there's been several times I've had appointments in person cancelled at the last minute, after travelling 2 hours there and back; cancelled phone calls at the last minute; zero in-person physiotherapy despite being told for over 2 years I would receive them.

I now have to wait - god knows how long - for the next phone call, that heaven forbid it's unsafe for me to answer my phone at that point in time.

Has anyone else in the UK had anything like this before? I just can't believe they wouldn't give me a chance to call back as I did, or call me again within a couple of minutes.

I'm self-employed, and as the spring/summer months approach, I may lose out on a lot of work and earnings with surgery recovery, which is why next month would have been perfect.

Any support right now would be great. I'm feeling so deflated and worn out by this.

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I am so sorry. You really have been treated badly. How can they plan surgeries this way ? I have never come across this before. I don't know who you can complain too, but I would be doing it.

I went to a private hospital, Spire, worth every penny.

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14 minutes ago, summerseeker said:

I am so sorry. You really have been treated badly. How can they plan surgeries this way ? I have never come across this before. I don't know who you can complain too, but I would be doing it.

I went to a private hospital, Spire, worth every penny.

Thank you. I honestly have no idea how they would think it’s a sensible way to schedule anything, honestly, I was so shocked I couldn’t say anything to her on the phone. I think I may call tomorrow to ask for a complaints number to be honest. I just can’t understand how that is even justifiable.

I’d love to go private and I did look into it, but I had a few complex needs that they advised I go back to the tiered weight management service the NHS offer for help and therapy first. At this point I wish I’d have ignored their advice and booked anyway!

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Wow… I’m not in the UK, so I have no idea what is considered common practice, but this is not only terribly unfair, but also illogical. It’s not like a transplant where they may only have a few hours to get the organ into a recipient; they should be able to give you at least a few hours to respond (and also a way to reach them). They can’t possibly expect you to be ready to answer the phone at a moment’s notice any time, anywhere.

If I had to guess, I would say this is probably not really their policy, but the person who called didn’t want to take the time to call you back or wait for your call and just moved on to the next person because it was easier. That would be a really callous way to handle something so important. I hope you can find someone to correct this so you can get your surgery!

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5 minutes ago, BigSue said:

Wow… I’m not in the UK, so I have no idea what is considered common practice, but this is not only terribly unfair, but also illogical. It’s not like a transplant where they may only have a few hours to get the organ into a recipient; they should be able to give you at least a few hours to respond (and also a way to reach them). They can’t possibly expect you to be ready to answer the phone at a moment’s notice any time, anywhere.

If I had to guess, I would say this is probably not really their policy, but the person who called didn’t want to take the time to call you back or wait for your call and just moved on to the next person because it was easier. That would be a really callous way to handle something so important. I hope you can find someone to correct this so you can get your surgery!

Thank you, I completely agree. Common practice usually would be to call the patient on the waitlist at the top (I have been told you are able to refuse a date to be offered another just one time, in the event you have a situation you can't miss in your personal life, for example), and offer the date with 2-4 weeks notice of surgery to begin the liver reduction diet.

I agree though, it doesn't take a genius to work out that this way of contacting people is simply ridiculous. What if one is driving again, or it's an inappropriate time to answer a call?

I have since found the complaints email for the health service trust, and have sent one off to explain the situation. I would be shocked if this was their policy, honestly, but I'll wait and see I suppose.

Edited by AMJ2598

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This is so awful, I am beyond sorry that you have had to go through this.

I know most of us can completely empathise with how hard the waiting game is at the best of times, let alone with the added stress of the NHS and how badly run it seems to be with WLS!

I had initially considered just staying on the NHS waiting list (I am currently on the Tier 3 Weight Management programme), but after hearing awful experiences like yours, and from reading about waiting times, I decided to look into going private with Spire. I think it may be worth just getting a second opinion in regards to what you were told before by a private surgeon!

My surgeon, Simon Monkhouse, was amazing in the initial consultation. I have PCOS too, and an underactive thyroid, and he recommended a bypass and was transparent about it all. You can get a free consultation with him quite quickly, maybe this would be an option for you! simonmonkhouse.com

I have everything crossed for you that you will get the surgery soon, and everything will work out. I'd definitely pursue putting in a complaint, too.

Sending love and hugs x

Edited by Bypass2Freedom

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Given that the NHS is government run, maybe you should send a letter to your MP as well. It couldn't hurt to make your complaints known to an elected official, even if, like here in the US, they don't do much. Sometimes they can surprise you by being effective.

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7 hours ago, Bypass2Freedom said:

This is so awful, I am beyond sorry that you have had to go through this.

I know most of us can completely empathise with how hard the waiting game is at the best of times, let alone with the added stress of the NHS and how badly run it seems to be with WLS!

I had initially considered just staying on the NHS waiting list (I am currently on the Tier 3 Weight Management programme), but after hearing awful experiences like yours, and from reading about waiting times, I decided to look into going private with Spire. I think it may be worth just getting a second opinion in regards to what you were told before by a private surgeon!

My surgeon, Simon Monkhouse, was amazing in the initial consultation. I have PCOS too, and an underactive thyroid, and he recommended a bypass and was transparent about it all. You can get a free consultation with him quite quickly, maybe this would be an option for you! simonmonkhouse.com

I have everything crossed for you that you will get the surgery soon, and everything will work out. I'd definitely pursue putting in a complaint, too.

Sending love and hugs x

Ahhh, the lovely tier 3 programme! It took an absolute age just to even be considered for that to begin with, I really feel for you. Then the added issue of thinking you would be aiming for a certain month or period of the year, to then be told last minute it's being pushed back, again and again, is genuinely the worst of it.

Being completely honest too, as someone who is self-employed, I just don't earn enough regularly to commit to paying it per month. I was working 6/7 days a week between two jobs and I was barely earning more than 22-ish thousand a year salary until the end of last year. I do have the comfort of earning a little bit more now, but only in the right seasons unfortunately.

I did put in a complaint yesterday to PALS, and they very quickly responded which was good of them, but it was conveniently not the woman who caused the stress to begin with. They've 'provisionally' (and I use that loosely!) let me know the 28th of March could work depending on how many others they have to schedule.

Just a waiting game I suppose. Thank you for your kind words, I really appreciate it x

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7 hours ago, NickelChip said:

Given that the NHS is government run, maybe you should send a letter to your MP as well. It couldn't hurt to make your complaints known to an elected official, even if, like here in the US, they don't do much. Sometimes they can surprise you by being effective.

Totally agree with the lack of work by MP's similar to yourselves over the pond! I did reach out to PALS, who are the official complaints people for the NHS, and the admissions team at the hospital did come back to me this morning. Felt a lot like many excuses, some not-so-reassuring promises about a provisional date in March (not holding my breath really), and generally just not much else.. alas, we will get there

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9 hours ago, AMJ2598 said:

Ahhh, the lovely tier 3 programme! It took an absolute age just to even be considered for that to begin with, I really feel for you. Then the added issue of thinking you would be aiming for a certain month or period of the year, to then be told last minute it's being pushed back, again and again, is genuinely the worst of it.

Being completely honest too, as someone who is self-employed, I just don't earn enough regularly to commit to paying it per month. I was working 6/7 days a week between two jobs and I was barely earning more than 22-ish thousand a year salary until the end of last year. I do have the comfort of earning a little bit more now, but only in the right seasons unfortunately.

I did put in a complaint yesterday to PALS, and they very quickly responded which was good of them, but it was conveniently not the woman who caused the stress to begin with. They've 'provisionally' (and I use that loosely!) let me know the 28th of March could work depending on how many others they have to schedule.

Just a waiting game I suppose. Thank you for your kind words, I really appreciate it x

It really did! I think I was on the waiting list for Tier 3 for about 2 years. I don't know how they think they are helping those who desperately need help with their weight, by making them wait years and years without any support.

I completely empathise with that, although there are a lot of freedoms with being self-employed, it does make some things more difficult.

I am glad they have reacted quickly to the complaint - I so hope they take it as seriously as they should and the woman who initially caused stress is actually held accountable. I have my fingers crossed for you! ❤️

Here if you need a friend x

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