A blood clot in my leg (DVT)

What was good:

– after I was re-measured, I was really upset that I could not get help from hospital; but my GP got me access to the correct sized RAL class 2 stockings to help me avoid post thrombosis syndrome.

– my physio returned my telephone call to give me new exercises when I got stressed about my walking not improving.

– Until December 2012, my GP had a superb computer booking system that allowed patients to book online. And view appointments online. It was invaluable throughout the INR testing.

– The convenience and ease in that INR testing could be done through my GP surgery, rather than needing to visit Addenbrookes.

What could have been done better:

– A and E or my GP or CamDoc could have taken my symptoms seriously, and helped me get an earlier (DVT) diagnosis. I was in a lot of pain, for a five-week period. And my leg was swollen and useless for months, possibly as a result of the delay in getting access to warfarin treatment.

– Addenbrookes Thrombosis Treatment Team/Anti-Coagulation Team could have given me access to a DVT Consultant, or someone that could examine my leg, explain my DVT and help advise what was stopping me walking. My leg was swollen, cold, bent, and I could not move my toes.

– Other than the first ten days when I was visiting the TTT and could ask the nurses questions (they just told me that everyone was different, and some people can’t walk, and when I mentioned chest pains and my other leg also being swollen and hurting, they told me it was unlikely I had another clot and failed to help me), I had no access to care/advise during my three months on warfarin and that made the whole process a lot more stressful than it needed to be.

– Addenbrookes could have had a DVT Consultant talk to me, and discuss my treatment, and concerns, before sending out a standard letter to take me off warfarin, without any interaction with me over a period of months.

– My walking got worse after I discontinued warfarin, and I had no contact to seek help, guidance or advice.

– Bupa could have communicated promptly with the Thrombosis Treatment Team to make sure that I got access to the treatment that I needed.

– My GP could have liaised with me regularly, and kindly. Rather than initially shouting at me, then at subsequent appointments watching the clock during appointments, and at another appointment suggesting taking away an MSK referral when the nurse insisted that I see a GP for chest pain.

– My GP could have retained their – superb – online booking system, after the December 2012 computer upgrade.


Listen to me, Respect me, Assess me properly

I have had serious pain and had difficulty walking for over four years.

My first attempt to get help from the GP resulted in them telling me, “You are getting old it comes with age.” The doctor considered that it was depression and prescribed antidepressants. He did not ask my history and I feel did not seem interested in my problems. I did not think I was depressed but did take the medicine. It didn’t improve anything and my pain was still there.

I deteriorated and the pain was worsening. I felt like the doctor looked more earnestly at the screen and rarely at me. He seemed always in a hurry and I felt had no time to listen. I continued for a long time trying to be stoical about the pain. I heard about a sympathetic doctor at our surgery. I made an appointment to see him.

Eventually this doctor listened and sent me for a scan. I had damage to my spine. I had surgery which was successful. The people at the hospital were wonderful. Following this there was a period of two weeks when I had a holiday in Wales and was able to walk three or four days along the gentler parts of the coastal path.

Later I had Physiotherapy and the pain from the exercises was unbearable. I felt like no one listened to me and I was brushed off. My physiotherapist discharged me.

I saw another GP who re-referred me back to the neuron-surgeon.

It was decided to do further surgery on my back. I waited and had a date for surgery. I had two pre op appointments I attended both and then five different admission dates all being cancelled.

To get ready for surgery packing toiletries and pyjamas and getting ready in your mind to only be told it was off, repeatedly was shattering for me.

Eventually we saw the surgeon who was unhappy with the plan for surgery and sent me for another x-ray. This resulted in the very clear evidence that I had severe osteoarthritis the head of the hip bone which had no definition.

Why was there not a proper assessment initially? I feel that if my doctor had time and patience to listen to me instead of rushing and not speaking to me but talking to the screen, then there may have been a different outcome. I am now waiting to see another surgeon to deal with my hip. I understand that my GP surgery met all its targets and is considered first class, but not to me as I think targets have come before people.


Worried about cleanliness at Addenbrookes

Admitted to Addenbrooks hospital a few days ago with suspected kidney problem. Everything about the whole process of admittance and care was exemplary and I could not have expected a more helpful staff and surgical team. They were very supportive during the investigation process and I am grateful for all that was done for me.

However, on return from my scan prior to being shown the bed I was allocated. The bed opposite was empty but the bedding was heavily blood-stained. At this point the member of staff who had showed me my bed, rushed across the ward to this bed and folded the linen placing it in the linen trolley. She then pulled the bed curtain partially across the end of the bed, and within minutes pushed the trolley away from the area leaving the bed stripped. She then returned with fresh linen and remade the bed. At no time did I witness the mattress, bed frame, bedside cabinet and chair being washed down.

I was concerned that this was not done as we are all aware of the problem of hospital super bugs and thought that good cleaning was of the essence in eliminating infections.

I am due to be booked into the hospital for a cystoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy, this degree of cleanliness or lack of is causing me a great deal of concern.


Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy – K2

I have to declare myself as member of staff at Cambridge University Hospitals but this in no way shapes my comments of the care I have received here and elsewhere at CUH, if anything I am more critical! This was my first visit to K2 for lithotripsy. As the lithotripsy unit is on a ward access to the unit is via an intercom and the door is released by a member of the reception team – if there were signs saying this I missed them as I tried the door first, then spotted the intercom by which time the staff member had unlocked the door. There is no clear signage in the main corridor directing you to the lithotripsy unit – just to K2. The reception team member was welcoming and checked my details – didn’t ask for an email address which should be standard as we are using a state of the art electronic patient record system and in future will use this – so we should be collecting email addresses now – after I asked they checked this was recorded – it was. I was directed to the lithotripsy unit and met by name, made me feel welcome, by an HCA who took me to a two bed room and did my assessment. I was then seen by a specialist doctor who talked me through the procedure completed the consent form and answered my questions – I had already received a helpful information pack – could the consent be sent in the pack as it is in endoscopy? – the only shortfall here was that I was not givenoffered the patient consent information sheet to read – this separate laminated sheet gets easily mislaid and is notoriously difficult to find. I saw a senior nurse after this who gave me some medications prior to the treatment and answered other questions I had. I then met the radiographer who was going to perform and monitor the treatment – a WHO pre-procedure safety check took place with the radiographer/senior nurse/doctor who checked they were performing the treatment on the correct side – a marker pen as used to mark the correct side – this was very reassuring. The radiographer explained the whole process and talked to me throughout checking I was comfortable and answering questions – this made the whole process go by quickly. I returned to the two bed room and was offered a hot drink and biscuits which were very welcome. I was checked up on frequently and was then discharged with antibiotics and advice sheets on what to do next, this included the contact number for the senior nurses should I experience difficulties. I was told to expect a further appointment in 4-6 weeks time, I got a phone call 5 days later to arrange further follow-up.To sum up the whole process was patient orientated, I felt safe and treated as an individual. My only suggestion are: signposting to lithotripsy in the main corridor and more visible information about intercom on door. Ensure patient consent information leaflet is given to patients and consider sending consent and information leaflet out with other patient information before the procedure like they do in endoscopy. Keep up the good work!


Choose and Book

I was refered to Addenbrooks Hospital to the Endocrinology dept. I was given documents that gave a reference number and password, also a phone number to book the appointment myself. For the last two weeks I have been trying to access the internet site of which is not available, I have telephoned and was told there are no appointments available, dont know when they will be and to go back to my GP. I have done this and my GP has now faxed the referral to the hospital and I am now in week three and still no contact regarding an appointment! I am very anxiious about the whole thing as I have previously had cancer and am worried it could have returned and the weeks are passing by and I feel that I am just banging my head at a brick wall. I did try to phone the hospital and was told they dont know when an appointment will be available I could be looking at months not weeks, how does this fit in with the 18 week patient pathway.

Lily S

A level of care and consideration that would be difficult to beat

My wife was taken to Addenbrook’s Hospital by ambulance on the 28th of April 2007 with severe pancreatitis. She was in the Intensive Care Unit for 5 months, followed by long stays in the High Dependency Unit, Intermediate Dependency Area and Ward D7. She had three major operations over a period of just over a year requiring further time in all of these departments and was finally released permanantly in December 2008. This was a very traumatic 20 months for us both but the fantastic care she received and the wonderful consideration shown to me is something I will never forget. A member of the Consultant’s team was always ready to answer my questions and the nursing staff were always extremely helpful and caring even though they were obviously under some pressure at busy times. The cleanliness of all parts of the hospital were of extremely high standard.

Some of the receptionists in the A & E department left a little to be desired but this was a small price to pay and was more than cancelled out by the medical staff who were always prepared to go the extra mile. I am so grateful that my wife was taken to Addenbrook’s and do not believe that she could have had better treatment anywhere in the country.

Martin Powell

Kidney Dialysis at Addenbrookes

I have been on Dialysis at Addenbrookes for over five years and following on from a story on this page, I can say that the bedside manner I have experiencing is more than “less than desirable”.

I feel like some of the managers have no appreciation for what the patients need or want. Most are elderly patients and seem to have no connection at all with the nurses. As far as I can see some nurses are only interested in what they can get out of their time in the dialysis ward.


Eye haven’t had a brilliant experience at Addenbrookes

The waiting room is always packed – I have had to go a lot – about 6 times in the last few months.

The worst wait I had was for a 2pm appt and I was seen at 6. The best was a 9am appt and I was actually out of there by 1030. The rest have been in between those times, so not amazing.

It took a long time before they finally let me see an actual consultant and when I saw him he asked why I hadn’t seen him earlier!

I have never gotten a diagnosis of what is wrong with my eyes either. They are not really reassuring and it doesn’t invoke a feeling of confidence when you can’t get a diagnosis and then that is how it is left.


Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge

I recently attended Addenbrooke’s Hospital, over a period of six weeks including surgery, for treatment of a fractured left wrist; the overall service was good, if somewhat no-frills and with some rough edges. The Plaster Room senior technician was a very decent man, quick and expert. I have one suggestion about the outpatients fracture clinic, where at each appointment the review of progress was based on newly taken x-rays transmitted electronically from the X-ray Dept to the clinic. None of the treatment rooms in which I was interviewed was fitted up with a screen on which the x-rays could be shown to patients and explained and discussed. It would be relatively easy to instal this facility, and then patients could be better informed about treatment options and self-management. It would also be more satisfying to patients, to understand their injury, and such a feature need not unreasonably prolong interview time. Before this new technology doctors would frequently show patients their x-ray negatives, and it’s a pity that this practice now seems to have been dropped.