Swindon AdvertiserNew patients turned away from eye clinic (From Swindon Advertiser)

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New patients turned away from eye clinic

NEW patients are being turned away from the Great Western Hospital’s eye department as staff struggle with growing demand.

While exisiting patients are being treated as normal at the clinic for a variety of eye problems including cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and corneal graft, new patients are being referred to hospitals and services as far afield as Cheltenham.

The situation was described as ridiculous and wrong’ by a 77-year-old West Swindon pensioner who asked not to be named.

The woman, who is awaiting cataract surgery, was at first told she would not be able to be seen in Swindon but would instead have to travel to Cirencester.

She was eventually booked into Cheltenham for the operation, which is due to take place in May.

“It is absolutely ridiculous,” she said.

“I was told that the department was only open to patients who have already been using it and not to new patients. I was told I had to go to Cirencester and then, when I called again, they said I had to go to Cheltenham. I thought it’s getting further and further away.

“In a big place like Swindon this is just wrong. It’s such a rigmarole when you have an eye department on your doorstep.”

The GWH said it has difficulties dealing with demand due to a growing and ageing population.

But itn is about to implement new measures to cater for patients, such as providing 28 extra clinics each week.

Hilary Shand, chief operating officer at GWH NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Ophthalmology Service at the Great Western Hospital has been experiencing some difficulty in meeting demand.

“With more patients we have been working on a plan to improve the service.

“The trust board recently approved a £1.6m investment in the service to support our plans to provide 28 more clinics per week at GWH and out in the local community in Swindon and Wiltshire, and significant investment in recruiting extra doctors, nurses and support staff.

“While these plans take effect, Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group have temporarily stopped new patients from being referred to our ophthalmology service at GWH, other than for emergency cases.

“This is while we increase staffing and the number of clinics to match demand. Existing patients under our care are still being treated.”

She added new staff had been recruited to ensure the service was more effective.

A Swindon Clinical Commissioning group spokesman said the body will provide transport to patients having to go to another hospital for treatment.

“To enable the GWH to treat all of its current patients, the ophthalmology department is no longer accepting new patient referrals from 1 January until they are able to recover from a situation whereby new referrals were being seen in a more timely manner than those requiring follow-up assessment.

“The department will continue to care for existing patients and receive any new emergency referrals.

“New patients have the option of different healthcare providers, who all provide the same level of treatment.

“Swindon CCG has made arrangements for any patient who has to travel to another hospital, to receive transport at no cost to the patient.”

Comments (9)

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7:20am Thu 13 Mar 14

d.x.p. says...

My housemate is facing the exact same issue. They ended up having to go to Stroud, which involves having to drive these; but guess what, you can't drive there, because you can't drive back, as they may dilate your pupils. So you have to catch the train - at rush hour (FGW's piggy bank getting fatter and fatter). And then the appointment gets cancelled with barely any notice as the doctor called in sick that day. So your day is wasted, you can't get your ticket refunded (only partly) and still not seen by the clinic.
My housemate is facing the exact same issue. They ended up having to go to Stroud, which involves having to drive these; but guess what, you can't drive there, because you can't drive back, as they may dilate your pupils. So you have to catch the train - at rush hour (FGW's piggy bank getting fatter and fatter). And then the appointment gets cancelled with barely any notice as the doctor called in sick that day. So your day is wasted, you can't get your ticket refunded (only partly) and still not seen by the clinic. d.x.p.
  • Score: 6

7:36am Thu 13 Mar 14

silvergran says...

When I had a major problem, I had to hot foot it to Bristol Eye Hospital who operated next morning and thankfully saved my sight. They told me if I had any further problems, not to go to GWH but straight to them! It's a disgrace that a town the size of Swindon is unable to cope with straightforward operations although mine was not one they do here.
When I had a major problem, I had to hot foot it to Bristol Eye Hospital who operated next morning and thankfully saved my sight. They told me if I had any further problems, not to go to GWH but straight to them! It's a disgrace that a town the size of Swindon is unable to cope with straightforward operations although mine was not one they do here. silvergran
  • Score: 9

7:45am Thu 13 Mar 14

Oik1 says...

"The GWH said it has difficulties dealing with demand due to a growing and ageing population."

Chickens coming home to roost?
The whole hospital is in difficulties in dealing with todays local patient population, all this was said when the plans for the hospital were made public, it's not big enough and it will not be able to cope with future patient numbers, now we'll hear all the GWH spin on how they are going to put patches on a very leaky vessel.
"The GWH said it has difficulties dealing with demand due to a growing and ageing population." Chickens coming home to roost? The whole hospital is in difficulties in dealing with todays local patient population, all this was said when the plans for the hospital were made public, it's not big enough and it will not be able to cope with future patient numbers, now we'll hear all the GWH spin on how they are going to put patches on a very leaky vessel. Oik1
  • Score: 9

8:12am Thu 13 Mar 14

semitonic says...

It's a shame we don't seem to hear any good news about GWH but I've had first-hand experience of their eye department, both at PMH and GWH, for over 40 years. I'm sure many of the doctors and surgeons mean well but on occasions the standard of care has been sorely lacking.

That said, your eyesight is so precious that I would travel anywhere in the country to get the best care available if it wasn't possible locally. Having had referrals to Moorfield Eye Hospital I'm now seeking a referral to a Plymouth hospital for their pioneering eye surgery. You have to push for everything with GWH or they just leave you to flounder.
It's a shame we don't seem to hear any good news about GWH but I've had first-hand experience of their eye department, both at PMH and GWH, for over 40 years. I'm sure many of the doctors and surgeons mean well but on occasions the standard of care has been sorely lacking. That said, your eyesight is so precious that I would travel anywhere in the country to get the best care available if it wasn't possible locally. Having had referrals to Moorfield Eye Hospital I'm now seeking a referral to a Plymouth hospital for their pioneering eye surgery. You have to push for everything with GWH or they just leave you to flounder. semitonic
  • Score: 6

8:43am Thu 13 Mar 14

beach1e says...

its no wonder this hospital is struggling when it wastes so much on locums because its recruitment team aren't capable of doing the job they are paid very well to do.
its no wonder this hospital is struggling when it wastes so much on locums because its recruitment team aren't capable of doing the job they are paid very well to do. beach1e
  • Score: 6

8:45am Thu 13 Mar 14

umpcah says...

semitonic wrote:
It's a shame we don't seem to hear any good news about GWH but I've had first-hand experience of their eye department, both at PMH and GWH, for over 40 years. I'm sure many of the doctors and surgeons mean well but on occasions the standard of care has been sorely lacking.

That said, your eyesight is so precious that I would travel anywhere in the country to get the best care available if it wasn't possible locally. Having had referrals to Moorfield Eye Hospital I'm now seeking a referral to a Plymouth hospital for their pioneering eye surgery. You have to push for everything with GWH or they just leave you to flounder.
" they just leave you to flounder " It seems that the attitude of so many at GWH is " What can I do about it " ?
[quote][p][bold]semitonic[/bold] wrote: It's a shame we don't seem to hear any good news about GWH but I've had first-hand experience of their eye department, both at PMH and GWH, for over 40 years. I'm sure many of the doctors and surgeons mean well but on occasions the standard of care has been sorely lacking. That said, your eyesight is so precious that I would travel anywhere in the country to get the best care available if it wasn't possible locally. Having had referrals to Moorfield Eye Hospital I'm now seeking a referral to a Plymouth hospital for their pioneering eye surgery. You have to push for everything with GWH or they just leave you to flounder.[/p][/quote]" they just leave you to flounder " It seems that the attitude of so many at GWH is " What can I do about it " ? umpcah
  • Score: 8

9:48am Thu 13 Mar 14

ChannelX says...

umpcah wrote:
semitonic wrote:
It's a shame we don't seem to hear any good news about GWH but I've had first-hand experience of their eye department, both at PMH and GWH, for over 40 years. I'm sure many of the doctors and surgeons mean well but on occasions the standard of care has been sorely lacking.

That said, your eyesight is so precious that I would travel anywhere in the country to get the best care available if it wasn't possible locally. Having had referrals to Moorfield Eye Hospital I'm now seeking a referral to a Plymouth hospital for their pioneering eye surgery. You have to push for everything with GWH or they just leave you to flounder.
" they just leave you to flounder " It seems that the attitude of so many at GWH is " What can I do about it " ?
Why would they care? They have strong unions and will get paid regardless of the service, or lack of, that they deliver.
[quote][p][bold]umpcah[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]semitonic[/bold] wrote: It's a shame we don't seem to hear any good news about GWH but I've had first-hand experience of their eye department, both at PMH and GWH, for over 40 years. I'm sure many of the doctors and surgeons mean well but on occasions the standard of care has been sorely lacking. That said, your eyesight is so precious that I would travel anywhere in the country to get the best care available if it wasn't possible locally. Having had referrals to Moorfield Eye Hospital I'm now seeking a referral to a Plymouth hospital for their pioneering eye surgery. You have to push for everything with GWH or they just leave you to flounder.[/p][/quote]" they just leave you to flounder " It seems that the attitude of so many at GWH is " What can I do about it " ?[/p][/quote]Why would they care? They have strong unions and will get paid regardless of the service, or lack of, that they deliver. ChannelX
  • Score: 4

10:33am Thu 13 Mar 14

Railmail says...

Two weeks ago drove a relative to Ophthalmology at Gloucester Royal. Opticians diagnosis confirmed. They were taken into treatment room, emerging 40mins later after treatment under local anaesthetic. Relative would have been unable to travel home alone on public transport. Hospital is easy to get to, easy to park, clean and efficient. Relative was not offered transport despite GWH being unable to give them an ophthalmology appointment. Oxford have a lengthy waiting list and Reading cancelled ophthalmology appointment twice.
Same relative was "left to flounder" by GWH Womens Health. Took them to Oxford this week where problem identified and now on waiting list for surgery. Several years ago same relative "left to flounder" by GWH Rheumatology but subsequently was diagnosed in Bath.
GWH Physiotherapy also struggling. Once you "get in" appointments are several weeks apart with staff apologising because they are unable to offer the necessary weekly appointments.
Two weeks ago drove a relative to Ophthalmology at Gloucester Royal. Opticians diagnosis confirmed. They were taken into treatment room, emerging 40mins later after treatment under local anaesthetic. Relative would have been unable to travel home alone on public transport. Hospital is easy to get to, easy to park, clean and efficient. Relative was not offered transport despite GWH being unable to give them an ophthalmology appointment. Oxford have a lengthy waiting list and Reading cancelled ophthalmology appointment twice. Same relative was "left to flounder" by GWH Womens Health. Took them to Oxford this week where problem identified and now on waiting list for surgery. Several years ago same relative "left to flounder" by GWH Rheumatology but subsequently was diagnosed in Bath. GWH Physiotherapy also struggling. Once you "get in" appointments are several weeks apart with staff apologising because they are unable to offer the necessary weekly appointments. Railmail
  • Score: 6

6:10pm Thu 13 Mar 14

PJC says...

They tried to laser the wrong eye until I reminded them. On an unrelated note, my son has medical problems, and his Dr. referred him straight to Oxford, leapfrogging GWH, as she said it would save time. Hmmmmmmm.!
They tried to laser the wrong eye until I reminded them. On an unrelated note, my son has medical problems, and his Dr. referred him straight to Oxford, leapfrogging GWH, as she said it would save time. Hmmmmmmm.! PJC
  • Score: 3

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