Op wait for Mandie slashed to a third

When Mandie Pridham, 47, from Launceston, experienced severe abdominal pain her GP diagnosed gallstones and the need for gall bladder removal surgery. A potential wait for treatment of at least 36 weeks was slashed to just 10 when she switched her care to Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre in Plymouth. 

Mandie, who is a company secretary for a sheet metal welding and fabrication business, first started to experience abdominal pain just before Christmas last year.

“It was excruciating,” she said. “It would start under my rib cage and shoot to my back and shoulders. Sometimes it would last for a few minutes, but at others it would last all day – all I could do was go to bed and write off the day.”

On one particularly painful episode Mandie took herself to the minor injuries unit at Launceston Hospital. They sent her to Derriford Hospital where she was told to see her GP when she experienced more episodes of pain.

In January of this year Mandie’s GP sent her for an X-ray and scan at Launceston Hospital where they identified gallstones. She had an appointment with a consultant at Derriford Hospital who advised her she would need to have her gall bladder removed and it would take up to 18 weeks for her operation to be booked in.

Mandie said: “18 weeks came and went, and the pain was really affecting my everyday life. I couldn’t plan to do anything in advance, because I never knew if I would have an attack of pain. I rang the hospital to see where I was in the system and I was told it could be another 13 to 18 weeks before I could have my operation. I couldn’t stand the pain and I knew I had to do something.”

Mandie had had an operation on her knee at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre in December 2016, so on the off-chance she emailed them to see if they could carry out her gall bladder removal.

“They said that I could, but I would need to be referred by my GP,” she said. “I went to see my GP who agreed I could switch from Derriford to Peninsula. Within two weeks I had seen a consultant and Peninsula, and six weeks later I had my operation. So from seeing my GP to treatment that was 10 weeks – much less time than if I had stayed on the original waiting list at Derriford. I am so pleased, because at one point I just could not see an end to it.”

Mandie was treated at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre in its day case unit. She commented: “Everything was fantastic and the staff were brilliant. Everyone in the team, nurses, surgeons, anaesthetists and the rest, all talk to you before and after your operation and it is just a different standard of care, much more personal than you get anywhere else.”

She added: “The place was immaculate and it is obvious that everyone is on top of it – even at reception, where you are reminded to use the antibacterial hand gel. I’ve recommended Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre to everyone I meet, and I’m aware of at least two people who have had a knee replacement at the hospital on my recommendation.”

Mark White, Hospital Director at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre, said: “We are delighted that Mandie has been happy with the care she received on both visits to us. In the case of her gall bladder removal she exercised a little-known right under the NHS Constitution, which is that if you have been told you must wait for more than 18 weeks for your treatment you can ask to be switched to a shorter waiting list at another hospital.”

Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre is the first hospital of its kind to have received a rating of ‘Outstanding’ from the Care Quality Commission. It provides a range of major and minor surgery in orthopaedics, general surgery (hernia repair and gall bladder removal) cataracts and endoscopy. More information is available by visiting its website at www.peninsulatreatmentcentre.nhs.uk or calling 01752 506070.