12-day ordeal for man after surgery is axed

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A man spent 12 nights in a hospital bed in Oxford waiting for surgery he thought he was having overnight in Banbury.

Pensioner Charles Woolland of Middleton Cheney was rushed to the Horton General Hospital on January 16, the day nurses and other staff were being told a sudden loss of gastric surgery specialists was forcing all such emergencies to the John Radcliffe (JR), Oxford.

Two days later, after an x-ray, he was transferred by ambulance to the JR where he spent five days awaiting a scan.

“I believe this was because of a shortage of equipment,” said Mr Woolland’s wife, Anne. An operation was ordered but the sick man had to wait four more days for surgery.

“Each evening he was informed his operation had been cancelled due to the heavy influx of more urgent cases,” said Mrs Woolland.

He had his keyhole procedure on Sunday, January 27 and was sent home the next day.

Mr Woolland said he was starved every day in preparation for his op and finally given food and drink at 7pm when it was clear it would not go ahead.

“I was in a surgical unit but there were lots of others seriously ill,” he said. “Staff were kind and did their best; they were embarrassed that I was kept waiting.

“Oxford holds the purse strings and can dictate. I was dealt with well but I would have preferred to have had my operation in Banbury.”

Prof Edward Baker, medical director at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I am very sorry to hear of any patient who has not had timely treatment in our hospitals. If any patient wishes to get in touch to discuss their treatment we would be happy to discuss their concerns.

“All emergency abdominal surgical patients from the north of the county are taken directly to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. This means we will not have the situation of some patients being admitted to the Horton and then having to wait for a transfer to the John Radcliffe.” He said beds at the JR had been increased to cope with the extra caseload.