Lengthy wait for op

I READ your story with mounting disbelief – where on earth does the NHS get its information?

Do they just make it all up?

How CAN they claim such short waiting times for operations?

I have now been waiting more than 14 months to have a cataract operation – which only takes 20 minutes under local anaesthetic – performed.

It has now taken so long that the replacement lens in my right eye, having to do the work for both eyes, has now degraded to such a degree that it has become almost as bad as it was before the operation to replace the right lens, which took place in June 2010.

The literature handed out by the hospital itself claims that the other eye should not be left more than three months!

This is symptomatic of a service that has bled talent into the private sector over the past 30 years, leaving only the disinterested to carry on.

I make no apologies for saying this, because I have a perfect example of the banality of some of the people working for the NHS.

It is this: I travelled from Chichester to Worthing by bus and train, arriving at Worthing Hospital in good time.

I was then kept waiting for five hours while a succession of nurses asked me the same set of questions over and over again.

At the end of a very long day of waiting and filling in forms, I was told that I couldn’t have the operation because I was diabetic.

I said why, and the answer given was that I couldn’t have a general anaesthetic.

I replied that I wanted a local anaesthetic. No answer.

I then said well, surely you knew I was diabetic. No answer.

I said surely you looked in the file yesterday – you could have phoned me at home to tell me not to come because I wouldn’t be allowed to have a general.

I would have then said I want a local, and this problem would not have arisen.

Plus, of course, I wouldn’t have been involved in such a colossal waste of time and money getting here and being kept waiting around for nothing.

In order not to commit murder, I then left.

So you see, I am not enamoured of the NHS. Either at the bottom or the top of the heap, they all seem to be as bad as each other.

On top of all this, there is no easy way to find out where you are on the waiting list for operations.

This seems to be deliberate – there are no contact names, and the website is worse than useless: no real information, everything arranged for the staff, not the patients, and used as a propaganda tool for the NHS, not as an aid to help the public.

I realise of course, that this will probably queer the pitch for me getting an operation but I don’t care now... it’s probably too late anyway.

I wish there was someone I could complain to, but they’re all in the whitewash team together, aren’t they?

PL Keen, AInstAM,

Carleton Road, Chichester