Man dies after six-month wait for lifesaving operation
A PENSIONER in his 90s died four days before a stent operation to release pressure on his heart ... but after waiting for almost six months for an appointment in the city.
John Bartholomew, 92, was told by his GP that he needed a stent to relieve breathing difficulties, but after a wait of half a year and four appointments in Glasgow, he sadly died four days before his operation in Edinburgh.
In contrast, his wife, Alison, said their son, who had a similar condition, was given similar lifesaving treatment within 24 hours.
Mrs Bartholomew, who has lived on the island of Mull for most of her life, said: ‘My experience of the NHS within the past year beggars belief. My husband was diagnosed with the need for a stent.
‘At that time, a year ago, we were 92 and 87. We had to go to see the surgeon and it was agreed my husband would need an operation because his breathing was getting worse.
‘I drove him up and down the road for all his appointments.
‘We waited for an appointment. We had three different appointments over several weeks in three different locations.
‘At 92 and 87, we had to drive down the night before as we were always offered 9am appointments. Before we got to the CalMac ferry we had already travelled 30 miles, so there was absolutely no way we could get to the hospital in time. It meant staying the night before in Paisley.
‘The next problem was finding a place to park at Paisley. By 9am there are no spaces left so it meant dropping my husband at the door and parking in some cases a 10-minute walk away.
‘The appointment itself was on a first come, first served basis and we could be waiting until lunchtime before we were seen.
‘Eventually my husband got his appointment for an operation in Edinburgh in July last year. He passed away four days before.
‘It seems to me that there is a fair amount of pontificating about management of services. I know from people who work in the medical profession on the island the biggest problem is interference in the working practices on Mull.
‘When, at the age of 15, I had an inflamed appendicitis, the boat came back to collect me and I had my operation in Oban the same day. That was in 1943. I don’t think the service has improved by any manner or means.’
Last week, in response to concerns over patients’ travel, the Health and Social Care Partnership (the health board) said: ‘We are treating more and more people locally at the hospital and in the past year more than 16,300 people were seen at the hospital, an increase of three per cent on the year before. This is good news for the hospital and good news for the local community.
‘We have also built on the skills of staff and a wider range of services such as cardiology and enhanced diagnostic services are now being provided locally which means many people don’t have to travel to Glasgow for investigations and treatment. In short, the hospital provides more services than it did five years ago.
‘It is also important to highlight there is a recognised national shortage of specialist consultants so unfortunately we are unable to provide a full range of consultant-led services from Oban.’