British Lung Foundation
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national policy on choice of hospital

I have just come home from a week's superb treatment in the QE Bham and am having the services of the recovery at home team who are coming in three times each day to continue my IVs for the next nine days. MARVELLOUS

Ihave bronchiectasis and was walking around with pleurisy and pneumonia for two months before somebody recognised it. it resulted in a huge lake of pus between the outside of my right lung and chest wall.


I have been a patient of the respiratory team at the General Hospital and then the QE since 1982. only that team know my complex conditions and I have known most of them since they were juniors, including my marvellous consultant.

When it came to needing admission ASAP I was told that because I live in Warwickshire I had to be taken to warwick hospital. They do not know me, would not know what to do with me and the last time I went there with an unrelated condition they xrayd me and tried to give me IV gentamycin, an old fashioned and viscious antibiotic for my chest!

In order to get me in my GP and consultant had to agree that I go into the QE through A&E. I got lost in the system and it took me two days of stress to get on to the respiratory ward. I have now been told that if the fluid in my lung returns I will have to get myself into the hospital through A&E again. Apparantly the Medical Director of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham has decreed that if a patient has what he/she designates as a normal condition lives outside Birmingham they have to go to their local hospital. No allowance being made for the fact that I have been a QE patient for 33 years.

Surely this Medical Director is going against national policy and breaking the law.

if I had not had the treatment when I did I could have died of septicaemia, thanks to the intransigence of an idiot in authority.

Does anyone have more knowledge of national policy on the choice of hospital admission and where I should start to call the Medical Director of the QE Birmingham to book.

19 Replies

Hi, I am glad that you are receiving the treatment you need at last.

Your post and that of 02Trees have made me realise how little I know about how the NHS works . I thought that a patient could choose their hospital too.

Can you ring the BLF helpline to see if they can clarify your case.

I will carry on googling to try and gain an understanding of the new initiatives for the NHS.

Best wishes


thank you knitter. I am going to investigate further and appreciate any help that the wonderful members of the site can contribute. After all, it can affect any one of us. When I am sure that I am correct that he medical director is breaking national policy I will go to the press and the local television, my MP and the minister for health. Does this government really need a nice little scandal at this point.


Glad to hear you are recovering and had such good medical care. I cant advise about the Medical Director etc. - perhaps the helpline could ...........You can call the helpline on 03000 030 555 Lines are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.TAD xx


Dictated by my partner who has lifelong career experience of the NHS.

"This is a decision by whoever is in charge of the main Birmingham hospital trust that they won't take outside referrals and its caused a lot of controversy.

It should be challenged - the problem in the currently fragmented NHS is who to take it up with. I'd suggest you write to the chair of the local CCG (clinical commissioning group who hold all budgets now), asking why your referral has been refused when

1. you have been cared for by this hospital for X years;

2. the referral is supported by your GP;

3. it is clear your local hospital hasn't got a clue about your clinical situation. Give the contrasting examples you post above.

The principle underlying the changes in the NHS were supposed to be about patient choice. Whatever doubts we may have about the validity of this, in your case your choice to go the QE actually fits in with your clinical need and your own doctor's preferred option.

I would copy this to your local MP." (Thanks Rita :) )

Good luck!


thank you so much. That is a good start.


do you suggest that I write to the Warwickshire CCG or Birmingham? I am a member of our recently formed PPG at my surgery and one of our members also attends Warwickshire CCG.


Rita should know - she is on our local PPG (I used to be but the surgery admin had a non-accountable election coup when they saw too many bolshie people were joining. You had to apply and also say what groups you were in and we are both founder members of E.Kent Keep our NHS Public, but Rita is both more knowledgeable with career in NHS policy and more moderate in her expression, so they chose her!) She also attends local CCG.

She's out - I'll ask her when she returns and post reply then, later this evening.

I'd say also copy your letter to your GP since you are referencing him, as a courtesy. He'll hear about it anyway, so best from you first.

Im sure the decision is being made for financial reasons, not clinical. There have been several ppl posting here about referral problems relating to getting on QE's waiting lists.

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my own consultant told me that it is a financial issue. The decision on which referrals and conditions are accepted is completely arbitrary, depending on what the medical director deems to be a 'normal' condition (me) (oh really, I bet he can't even pronounce bronchiectasis) or complicated. Believe me when I get better and dig my teeth into it the letter will be going everywhere including my MP, the Minister for Health, national and local press and the BBC medical correspondant who knows me. I believe that my GPs will be grateful that I am taking it on. I am only here today because two of them acted really quickly and found a way to get me into the QE via the A&E. So much for all of the promises about patient choice-again!


"Patient choice" is an ideological smokescreen to enable and make appear respectable the cuts in funding and rampant privatisation of the NHS. The director sounds as crass as the one in Holby City :D

Glad your GPs and consultant are so firmly behind you, and are so straight with you too.

Its NHS campaigning day throughout the country on saturday - you could always organise something in the town if you have the energy. Or maybe you should try to get some time off from your highly justifiable anger and concentrate on the wonder of having had such good treatment :)

Edit: typo changed meaning mid-3rd para!

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The wanderer returns - answer:

"Write to Warwickshire CCG as they are the ones who hold your local budget and make contracting decisions. Birmingham CCG wouldn't be appropriate as they have no responsibility for your care.

You could also as suggested before copy in the director but the problem is he is not accountable to anyone other than his own board.

Also you should write to the chairman of the board of trustees of the QE, that would be good. And of course write to or copy in all the others you mention.

But the main people to aim it at are your own CCG as they are responsible that the people of Warwickshire get appropriate care and treatment.

Hope that's ok, but do get back to ask more or share anything from your end Stillstanding (its a wonder you are ;) )


Many thanks. As soon as I can garner enough energy to start the process, the letters will be going off.


Well take your time - don't think there is a statute of limitation coming up on this. You need your strength to handle it.

The health journalist sounds like there's potential - you've such a good case and Birmingham is quite current for a story.


I think that I may drop the journalist an email to find out if he is aware that this is a very current controversy? Maybe they may like to come home and film the poor little old lady in her dressing gown and with her drip stand, worrying that when all this ends next week she will dropped into the slough of the despond with no treatment or support from the team which has kept her alive for the last 33 years


Good idea, s/he could do a feature on the Brum situation with your situation as the peg it hangs from (think that the media term, anyway the personal bit which introduces an article and makes it readable and accessible).

The whole scandal needs blowing wide open and there's very little time now before the election. If the tories get back we will be stuck with full-on USA style privatisation and insurance based healthcare.

I read that Manchester City Council are taking over their whole district's healthcare budget. Who will they sell it off to when they find it isn't viable for them?


exactly. I will let you know how I get on.


I would get my MP in the loop sooner rather than later SS.You have my full support,if I can help with anything just let me know. David.


Hi Stillstanding, I am so sorry you have had such a terrible time. I too have Bronchiectasis and I really feel for you. I do not know what the national policy is on admission into hospital, however, surely your local MP would know. I would get in touch with him/her and ask for help. Failing this I would write to the Prime Minister, I did this years ago about a problem I had and they helped, they even keep in touch of issues of the day if they think I may be interested. I am not a political animal but I am impressed with the help I received. I have also made a good political contact for local issues by using my local Shopmobility shop. There are people out there who will help if you ask. Good luck and take good care. Do not keep worrying, be proactive and ask for help. Maximonkey


Hi Stillstanding, just had another thought. Where is your Consultant based, does he have a clinic in QE Bham? If he does, is this where you go for your checkups? If you go there for checkups you should be admitted via A and E automatically. That is what happens with me. If he is not based at the QE do the hospital have a PALS service? If they do I should contact them and tell them your story. I have complained to the PALS and the hospital were very quick to rectify the matters I complained about. Try everything you can think of so that you can stop worrying about being ill again and how you will manage. Good luck and take care Maximonkey


Hi, Stillstanding, I am shocked to read your story. Do please, as i am sure you are doing, get well again. Try writing to the Prime Minister. After 33 years you speak of, really I am lost for words. I myself know (Copd grade 5) that the people best placed to look after me are those like you, have known me for many years.


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