Couple’s upset over QE2 Hospital operation saga

AFTER the death of his father, Jeffrey Clarke hoped he could go on holiday to get over it.

Unfortunately “harsh” rules and regulations of Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust (PCT), means he went away feeling more stressed than ever.

On January 8, the 46-year-old was scheduled to have an ankle and toe operation at the QE2 Hospital in WGC.

The day before the appointment, his dad Kenneth, 66, died of a heart attack in Bournemouth – and a devastated Jeffrey cancelled his op.

Last week wife Jayne, 40, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “On Tuesday [February 9] I decided to surprise my husband and booked a holiday to Egypt [leaving on February 15] with our children as he is taking his father’s death very bad.

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“I really need to get him away to de-stress and rest.”

But on Wednesday the couple, who live between Newgate Street Village and Cheshunt, received a call from the hospital with a new appointment just 48 hours later, on Friday.

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“After explaining the whole situation I was advised he would not be able to come in for the operation as he cannot fly for six weeks afterwards, and that he would have to be re-referred by our GP as he had now turned down two admission dates,” said Jayne, who has two children with Jeffrey.

“They would not listen or show any compassion for the situation, and if anything, it has made my husband more stressed out and upset.

“It’s very harsh.”

Jayne angrily added: “I am annoyed and Jeff is fuming.

“I can accept we cancelled the second appointment for a holiday but to use the death as another one [cancellation] is out of order.

“The rules should be changed.”

Jeffrey, a sales director, was first referred by his GP to hospital in September.

Intitally it was thought he had gout but it now seems to be osteoarthritis, which has wrecked havoc with his life since a car crash 23 years ago.

He said: “I am disappointed with the way the system is run. “I am in pain pretty much constantly, it’s a long drawn out thing.

“All I want is for it all to be over so I can start exercising and spend more time having fun with my children.”

In a joint statement, the East and North Herts NHS Trust and PCT said: “A policy is in place which states if a patient cancels an appointment twice, then the requirement is that their GP must refer them in again.

“The majority of hospitals have a similar policy to discourage patients from missing appointments unnecessarily.

“That said, the policy allows for some flexibility if patients get in touch, either directly or via their GP, to discuss their individual circumstances. We would encourage Mr and Mrs Clarke to contact appointment staff at the QE2 or their GP who will help to resolve the situation.”

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