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Queen's hospital apologises over operation date confusion

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: September 05, 2014

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A FIBROMYALGIA sufferer turned up at Burton's Queen's Hospital for an operation to ease her pain – only to be kept waiting hours before being told the procedure was not scheduled.

Julie Sellers' long-term condition causes fatigue and pain all over her body, among other symptoms.

After a successful pre-operation examination, she arrived at the hospital on September 1 for her procedure, only to find she was not on the list.

The 55-year-old told the Mail the day had caused 'unnecessary stress' for her and husband Malcolm, who is also her carer.

She said: "We had to wait around, and the stress made me really ill.

"The operation would have kept me off my feet for a couple of weeks, but it would give me a quality of life back that I have been waiting for.

"I have no normal life and haven't had a normal life for years. This has really knocked my confidence."

Mr Sellers, 57, said the situation was frustrating.

"It's disgusting that this sort of thing happens and no-one is answerable," he said. "This operation was not life-threatening but leaves her in limbo and with a lack of confidence in Queen's Hospital."

Kim Laban, assistant operational manager at Queen's, said: "We have investigated this matter further and spoken directly with Mr Sellers and his wife to apologise for the inconvenience.

"Often, when a patient comes in for their pre-operation appointment we provide a provisional date for their operation. This date was provisional and no further communication was sent to Mrs Sellers to confirm her operation was due to go ahead on this date.

"We appreciate this was confusing and will ensure that in future patients' provisional appointment dates are clearly communicated and understood.

"We have spoken to Mr Sellers to confirm a date for his wife's operation."

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  • fibrofrenzuk  |  September 05 2014, 7:19PM

    Fibromyalgia is known as a condition that is not life threatening but the suicide potential is not considered. How many lives have to be taken? How many families destroyed before the necessary attention is paid to this life-changing condition? In the UK, information about how many people with fibromyalgia have been diagnosed is not collected and a recent question by an MP about how many were receiving benefits was deemed too expensive to collate. How can decisions about the need for adequate treatment centres and education of medical professionals be made when the scale of the problem is not accurately known? In the short term the data has to be collected and resources made available for use of the current options for treatment. In the long term there needs to be in-depth research into how best to manage fibromyalgia whilst also exploring the cause and therefore a potential cure. Fibromyalgia Association UK (http://tinyurl.com/owmyzkl) is acutely aware of the difficulties faced by people with fibromyalgia. This often starts with no one understanding what their many symptoms are pointing to and a feeling of not being believed by friends, family, employers and even the medical professionals they are turning to. When a diagnosis is eventually reached there are still cases where people with fibromyalgia are told there is nothing that can be done and that there is no cure but, as a consolation, that it is not life threatening. The syndrome is mainly known for constant pain all over the body, but also sleep problems, fatigue, migraines, stiffness, confusion and memory problems, irritable bowel and irritable bladder, to name a few. Although a team approach with many types of treatment has been shown to have the best results, this is not widely available. Our recent survey showed that nearly 50% of people with fibromyalgia felt their treatment was poor, leaving them in constant pain and with unexplained fatigue. It is no wonder under these circumstances that some people feel that there is only one way of solving their problem – to end their life. A coroner's report in Shropshire cited fibromyalgia as the reason for a suicide earlier this year and a member of the fibromyalgia support group of the Isle of Wight was found at the foot of cliffs in July. To put these cases into context, in the general population worldwide about 1.8% commit suicide and 2.7% attempt suicide. A study in Spain found that 16.7% of the people with fibromyalgia studied had attempted suicide between one and three times. In Denmark research showed that the increase of suicide risk for people with fibromyalgia was 10.5 times that of the general population. In the meantime the message to health professionals is to provide people with fibromyalgia with the best pain control. However it is because of the drudgery of dealing with the many other fibromyalgia symptoms as well as the pain that scientists believe people with fibromyalgia are more likely to seek suicide as a relief. Therefore clinical support for the fibromyalgia-related symptoms people find most troubling is also key. FMA UK's task is to fighting for freedom from Fibromyalgia and says, "We must stop people feeling pain every day of their lives and being so exhausted they are unable to cope with living. We need the health service to start taking fibromyalgia seriously to put a stop to the suffering." Pam Stewart, Chairperson (FMAUK)