Alan Sledmere lost his wife of 24 years, Shirley, on November 6, 2016 from a perforated gallbladder.
Just three days before she died, Mrs Sledmere, from Sidcup was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital with severe abdominal pain, but was sent home because no ultrasound appointments were available.
Concerned for his wife’s welfare, Mr Sledmere booked her in for a private ultrasound scan on November 7.
Unfortunately, Mrs Sledmere collapsed the day before she could make it to the scan.
Is that why we pay into the NHS, to then have to pay again…?
After Mrs Sledmere died, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust carried out an investigation which found that an ultrasound would probably have shown Shirley’s perforated gallbladder.
The report admitted “there may have been an opportunity to alter the outcome,” and recommended staff are always available to give ultrasounds to patients who need it.
You’d think it was common sense. Wouldn’t you?
After Mr Sledmere wrote to health secretary Jeremy Hunt to share his concerns, Mr Hunt said the availability of scanning machines was a decision for individual NHS trusts.
However, he did admit that “the general expectation” across the NHS was that patients taken to A&E “should have immediate access” to services like ultrasound scans.
And since that (pretty basic) expectation has been shown to be false, how about refunding the money extracted for a service it can’t provide?