Hospital Departments

I think there's a few people here who, like me, are seen by more than one hospital department. I was wondering if anyone had treatment that crossed over between/conflicted between departments and if so how good the departments were at talking to each other?

Each of the individual departments seem excellent at their own thing, but they don't consider what others are doing or how what they do impacts on others. It really annoys me that they don't seem to be able to confer when they're in the same building!!

For instance about two weeks I got a new asthma action plan. Great. Until last week when the endo specialists said nope, that won't work and scrapped it and put their plan in place. But they don't know my asthma and their plan doesn't work - aaarrrrggghhh!!!! I just wondered if it was normal to get conflicts between departments and everything being very department specific?

10 Replies

  • last summer I was given drug by cardiology for irregular heart rate - asked and asked them to check against my asthma drugs, did they? NO! Did it interact? YES! Badly...the cardiologists also wanted me off all drugs that could increase heart rate...erm no that is basically all my asthma meds...The consultant gave up in the end. I have seen the registrar and he is so much better should be the other way round. You would have thought cardiologhy and resp would talk...

    Orthopeadics and Resp - they work amazingly well together even had resp specialist reg at my ortho appt with me to check what they were going to do would be safe...absolutely marvelous.

  • I think this is the way of everything! When I was at uni I always felt sorry for the people doing combined subjects because their departments NEVER seemed to talk to each other and they'd always have impossible amounts of work, scheduling clashes etc. In the NHS though the result of non-communication is much worse as illustrated by Honey's post - shocking!

    I'm not sure if my cardio and resp talk to each other. They are not actually in the same building but the cardio registrar said he would be talking to my resp consultant. On the other hand, my cardio outpatient appt felt like a (slightly more detailed) repeat of the respiratory one - he appeared to be much more interested in my lungs than my heart! Admittedly I got to fill in some details I'd forgotten in the resp appt - whether they'll get passed on is anyone's guess - but I was referred to cardiology by the resp consultant because she was worried about my fast pulse rate and the cardio registrar didn't really seem that interested in asking about that or anything related, then spent about twice as long listening to lungs as heart! Was thinking 'already been here, aren't you meant to be doing some kind of fancy heart stuff?'

    tbh in my case probably doesn't matter that much as I suspect the heart issues are incidental, will prove to be benign and they're just being cautious, but I imagine for Ratty, Honey and others it would be a much bigger deal and could potentially be pretty dangerous.

    Sorry for rambling on again...

  • Normally the connection is awful, I'm seen not only by a few departments but also about 4 hospital to make it more confusion! They never communicate and it often leads to tests having to be repeated etc.

    However a few weeks ago I was seen by an orthopaedic surgeon and he put off bracing my back after speaking to my asthma consultant! A minor miracle!

  • mine is totally opposite!!! They all send letters to each other saying what they have done, new meds, results and my next appointment date so all my next appointmens are on the same day so i only have to be in london for 1 day! And as i am under 3 different hospitals they all mail each other. im sorry yours dont - must be so annoying! xxx i am very lucky to have my teams.

  • It seems my experience isn't out of the ordinary - though wow, Chloe, yours sounds fantastic. I see one consultant at a different hospital in a different trust - I don't even try to get them to communicate with the others!!! And I've had the whole having to repeat blood tests, etc.

    I'm not sure what the solution is though I'm currently psyching myself up (with biscusits!!) to have 'words' with my resp cons about how it might be beneficial to all if they picked up the telephone and talked to each other, and they might not have to put up with me so much ... Well I can only try.

  • Really does vary between staff in the same department never mind different areas. I'm not under different hosp. depts but have worked in the NHS. There was a central documents service in one area where GPs and hospitals can see letters etc which was really useful. Pathology (test results) and PACS systems can be accessed from other trusts but may need setting up which is often as easy as ringing IT. Email can be used well too. Tis frustrating esp when wards don't think to even send notes or drug chart with patients.


    P.S. There is a simple solution to letters being sent to other people, medical secretaries can cc details at the end

  • This would be so simple and true if it were not for the fact that when i questionned it taking up to three sometimes four months for my GP to get a letter following my consultations and considering I am now on monthly appts how are they ever meant to keep up on more than just my say so. She said that this is a common problem due to the fact that they out source the typing of their letters to India and then they have to be sent back to be checked and signed by the team you are under!! Seriously?!!

  • I realised that departments/hospitals have problems liasing, so i insisted that they kept my consultant informed or provide me with copies of any procedures/medicines etc so i can relay it. As my Gp rarely sees me and seems to never get up to date discharged notices unless i hand them in myself.

    Sorry will not help me, so I am insistent. My consultant knows everything about my health conditions and sends me for referals. So noone will undermine him, cos I will call in asthma nurses to review my file if need be.


  • My respiratory consulant now controls all my conditions and will not let any other department do anything without consulting him first. I am so thank full for this.


  • Outsourcing to India, seriously?!

    I wonder if they're doing something similar with mine, though I can't believe they're sending them to India given how short they are. But whenever I get a letter directly from my consultant (cc'ed to my GP), it arrives 2-3 weeks after the date on the letter - and with a thing saying 'Electronically checked but not signed to speed delivery' (how long would it take if she signed it?!)

    I'm wondering if there's a reason this kind of communication can't be done by email - I know not everyone has an email address but could they not say it will be by email by default if you provide an address and otherwise by post? Or would that be too complicated? I can see why they might want to keep the appointments by letter (though those also take a ridiculously long time to arrive I find), but this delay in getting letters from the cons really does slow things down - she wrote to me once to ask me to come in for repeat lung function tests and once to say they wanted to do a bronchoscopy, and in both cases it meant a delay of several weeks before I could even arrange an appointment for the tests! Surely phone or email would have been better and quicker for everyone?

    Sorry for going on again...

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