Ambulanceman’s op cancelled five times

Paul Smart says he is is hoping his long-awaited operation will go ahead on April 1, after months in agony. ANL-160321-145616001
Paul Smart says he is is hoping his long-awaited operation will go ahead on April 1, after months in agony. ANL-160321-145616001

An ambulance worker who has devoted his life to helping to save lives says he has been left in agony because an operation he desperately needs has been cancelled - FIVE times.

At his last appointment in February, Paul Smart said he was kept waiting all day at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston only to be told at the last minute there were no beds.

Mr Smart said his first date in December was cancelled after a failure by the consultant to book the operation,

He said: “I discovered I had a seven-inch abdominal hernia in September last year and I’m constantly in a lot of pain.

“I was referred to a consultant for treatment and was given a date of December 8 for the operation. After a failure by the consultant to book the operation, I have had a further four operation dates cancelled at the last minute, the last two on the day in the waiting area at Boston Pilgrim. Last month when they sent me home they told me to wait and take morphine.

“The next day I had to go back because I stayed off the morphine the day before I was due to have the operation and I was in agony.

“The pain got so bad I said I just couldn’t live with it. That’s no way to treat people.”

Mr Smart, who is a frontline emergency care assistant for the East Midlands Ambulance Service based in Skegness and lives in Great Steeping, has now been given another date for his operation.

However, even though it is scheduled for April 1, he is hopeful this time the operation will go ahead because he has been offered a bed in Pilgrim’s private wing, the Bostonian.

He said: “It’s so frustrating. I feel I have been fobbed off time and time again.

“This has gone on since December. I’m on so much morphine I’m always sleeping and even if I did feel well enough I’m not allowed to drive.”

Mark Brassington, chief operating officer at Pilgrim has apologised and said that ‘operations are unfortunately cancelled, for example when the demand for emergency treatment increases’.

As well as being off work in pain, Mr Smart says it is likely a promotion he was expecting will be put on hold.

He said: “I’m soon going to be down to half pay and if the operation goes ahead in April, it looks like I’ll miss technician training in May that would have gone towards a promotion.

“It’s also costing me money because I used to do a lot of overtime. Not only that I’m missing my job because I love it.”

Following an enquiry by the Skegness Standard, a spokesman for Pilgrim Hospital has apologised to Mr Smart.

Mark Brassington, chief operating officer, said: “We would like to offer our apologies to Paul Smart and would encourage him to contact the Trust directly so that his concerns can be fully investigated.

“We can’t discuss individual cases due to patient confidentiality, however operations are unfortunately cancelled, for example when the demand for emergency treatment increases which can lead to the cancellation of planned operations.

“Patients admitted during these times often have more complicated illnesses resulting in longer stays in hospital. This may also reduce the number of beds available resulting in some planned operations being rearranged.

“We understand the impact that this difficult decision to delay an operation has on patients and their families. We are committed to reducing the number of operations that we

cancel.

“We are working with primary and community care to manage some patients outside of hospital and to speed up discharge from hospital to free up beds.”