Chingford News

Whipps apologises to patient after months waiting for surgery

Daniel Lewis from Chingford has been waiting since May to have his gall bladder removed
By Local Democracy Reporter Josh Mellor

Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone
Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone

Whipps Cross Hospital has apologised to a patient waiting to have his gall bladder removed after a series of delayed and aborted appointments this year.

Daniel Lewis, a 43-year-old from Chingford, learned he has growth in his gall bladder that he fears could become cancerous during an operation in March last year.

However, over the course of this year, four hospital appointments about the growths were aborted, delayed or not booked in the first place.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “[In May] I elected for my gall bladder to be removed but they haven’t done anything.

“I just don’t want a ticking time-bomb sitting in me: to not have it followed up and then six or seven months later it’s beyond control and I have cancer developing in my body.

“I can’t work, I can’t lift much, I can’t earn money, I can’t find out what’s going on and I can’t get any disability benefits because the hospital is not doing anything.

“I’m on benefits and that isn’t enough to live on anymore.”

Daniel Lewis from Chingford

In June, a routine ultrasound to monitor the growth was aborted for medical reasons but not rebooked.

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Then Daniel missed a September appointment after the date was incorrectly booked and no automatic reminder was sent.

He finally filed a formal complaint after an appointment with a consultant in October, which had already been delayed, was moved to March next year because a doctor had booked annual leave.

Earlier this month, he received a letter from the hospital’s director of operations, Tristan Kerr, who apologised for “communication issues” and “delays”.

Kerr wrote: “The Gastroenterology and Hepatology departments are extremely busy and under-resourced services with huge pressures on both clinical and administrative staff, but we are working very hard to improve our services and resolve the backlog caused by the COVID 19 pandemic.”

Daniel is one of 280 patients who have been waiting more than eighteen months between referral and treatment at Whipps Cross, a significant decrease from a peak of almost 1,400 in June this year.

Barts Health, the trust that manages Whipps Cross along with four other hospitals in east London, does not regularly publish data for each hospital.

However, a recent performance report shows that as of September, more than 900 people have been waiting for more than eighteen months for elective treatment over the entire trust.

The number of patients who have been waiting more than two years for treatment is currently 51, the highest in London and seventh highest in England.

Minutes from a trust board meeting in October show concern from chair Jacqui Smith about “unfavourable comparisons” with other London trusts in terms of long waits for elective surgery.

The most recent NHS England data available shows that at Barts, which serves 2.5million east Londoners, there were 112,244 treatments outstanding, only 55% of whom were seen within 18 weeks.

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