Monday, 8 June 2009

Impressive Apology

As you know, back in February I had the accident that rendered me unable to ride for 3 months due to a fractured pelvis. As a result of this and the way that I was treated by the NHS regarding ambulances etc - I was told I could have one and then had it cancelled and made to travel to hospital with no pain relief and by taxi - I issued a formal complaint to the NHS Trust Ombudsman.

There's been a few letters going back and forth between myself and the trust, and a little while ago I received the official letter from them.

"....Your call was routinely transferred from the Ambulance Trust to NHS Direct for further assessment by a registered nurse. The health advisor established the reason for your call and then transferred you to a nurse advisor for a clinical assessment. Our review showed that, regrettably, the health advisor failed to document and/or inform the nurse advisor that your injury was as a result of a collision with a car. Had this information been made available to the nurse advisor at the time, this would have resulted in a more urgent level of care.....The nurse advisor undertook a clinical assessment. During this it was confirmed that you had fallen off your bike but the nurse advisor didn't explore this further....Following this assessment, the nurse advisor gave self-care advice and advised should the symptoms not improve you attend your local Accident and Emergency.......The review showed that the nurse advisor did not explore the mechanism of your injury and I apologise for this.

I assure you that all our staff received ongoing training to support them in providing a high quality service to patients. On this occasion, the service that was provided did not reach the high standard that we expect. I uphold and agree with your complaint, and I offer my sincere apologies....."

I didn't make the complaint in order to get a form of compensation, as some people expected me to, I simply wanted the NHS to examine how they respond to people who were in my position. Granted, there are people who use the ambulance service as a taxi service; however, I have only contacted the trust for serious matters: for my mom which resulted in life-saving surgery, myself on this occasion, and the 2 times I helped people who'd been viciously assaulted in the street.

It is good to know that there is ongoing training for the staff. I am intrigued how they can try to diagnose a broken bone over the phone though. I've had several broken bones that have gone undiagnosed due to my high pain threshold. I had a broken ankle diagnosed years after it'd happened (I'd been happily walking on it all the while); I was able to walk after the most serious injury of my life had happened: when I got beat up by the ex and had fractured my tibial plateau, which resulted in a femoral brace for the majority of that year; and this one when I was still able to walk, albeit only just!

Despite all this, I'll still have no qualms about calling the trust again if I need to - after all, they are only human.


  1. I know it's meant to be a positive post but it's amzing how you write all these things as if they are the most normal thing in the world.

    "when I got beat up by the ex and had fractured my tibial plateau"

    That so sad stuff and I'm truly sorry to hear.

    I agree with you that I wonder how they diagnosed you and how the information, that you were hit by a car, would have made a difference? I'm glad you got an apology though.

  2. HI read your blog and as I work as a paramedic in Australia thought I would throw in my two-bob. In Ambulance here in Victoria we look at the mechanism of injury - eg: cyclist vs car and treat for "potential". Since broken bones have such varying ratings on the pain scale, we would palpate your injury and transport you with suspicion for xray......I have had patients in loads of pain - no breaks and patients with nasty breaks and minimal pain so it is mechanism and potential that drives our treatment. Sounds like you have had a nasty time....hope your recovery is going well and that you get back into racing......(pain of a different sort)..Good Luck

  3. Groover - that ex incident happened in 2004. I just took it all in my stride - he was an a**e anyway!
    If NHS Direct had noted it involved a car I would have got my ambulance as it's classed as a more serious incident. As it was I didn't and NHS Direct decalred I couldn't have broken anything as I got up off the floor!

    Buttsy - that's how our ambulance guys usually work. I don't know where their reasoning went on that occasion. But, it's all good now. back on the bike, but leaving the racing til next year and focussing on getting fit again for now.