Whipps Cross apologises for patient’s year-long wait

Chingford patient fears he has cancer
By Josh Mellor, Local Democracy Reporter

Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone
Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone

Whipps Cross University Hospital’s medical director has apologised after a patient was told to wait more than a year for a telephone consultation.

The patient, a Chingford resident who has asked not to be named, has a small growth in his gall bladder that he fears might be cancerous. It was first identified last year after he had an operation to remove other growths from his intestinal area in March 2021. 

He was first referred to Whipps Cross’s gastroenterology department in August last year, but contacted the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) last month after his appointment was moved to August and then October this year.

Aged in his 40s, the patient said he feels “upset and frustrated” as he has recently lost two friends to cancer and is unable to work.

He added: “In August they said there are polyps there, they confirmed it was one big one, they hadn’t got back to me.

“I would like peace of mind, to have it removed and to move back into the real world. 

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“I’ve had two people who have seen something, thought it might have cancer and months later they passed away.”

Last week, the patient managed to secure a telephone appointment and has been given a date for more tests. He filed a formal complaint about poor communication through the hospital’s patient advice and liaison service, but says that the case has already been “closed”.

He added: “It would have been over a year for a telephone consultation, I keep arguing that the time to have that conversation would be the time it takes to organise it.”

Heather Noble, Whipps Cross Hospital’s medical director, said: “The experience and care of all our patients is our top priority and we sincerely apologise for the delay. 

“We have contacted the patient and an endoscopy appointment has been confirmed.”

The NHS has set a national target for there to be no patients waiting more than two years for elective surgery by June.

According to a recent performance report for Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs Whipps Cross Hospital, 287 patients had been waiting for surgery for more than two years by the end of March.

The number of patients waiting more than a year peaked at more than 14,000 in March 2021 and has since fallen to about 6,000.

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