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To think from a patient's point of view there is no such thing as a "routine" operation?

(41 Posts)
Oneandtwoandthree Thu 14-Jan-16 07:31:49

Over the last few years my family have had to undergo a number of medical procedures that would be classed as routine by the medical profession including:

Kidney removal
Hernia repair
Cartilage repair

There have been long waits for these operations (longest 18 months, shortest 20 weeks), and during that time the patient has been unwell and/or in pain. When speaking to the doctors they were all I presume trying to reassure by saying don't worry you are just waiting for a routine operation. It maybe routine for them, but for the patient it's a life changing hopefully one off operation nothing routine about it at all.

What's made me now write this post is that with regards to the junior doctor's strike this week, the doctor's were saying that "only routine operations were cancelled" like that's okay because they were routine.

But for those patients affected AIBU to think there is nothing routine about the operation? The operation will hopefully cure, improve or enhance their life in some way - otherwise why would they be having it.

AIBU to think that doctors need to stop thinking of common or high occurrence operations as routine (which I appreciate they are for the doctor) as they are not for the patient?

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 14-Jan-16 07:33:55

Of course they're not routine for the patient, that isn't who the terminology is for.

But routine operations are not life threatening so I think it is fine they have been cancelled for the strike.

MoMoTy Thu 14-Jan-16 07:34:53

I think it's pretty obvious that what it means to a patient is not going to be the same to a doctor. This is one major operation for you, but to a doctor it's fairly common or standard enough to be routine.

Sirzy Thu 14-Jan-16 07:37:54

But for the medical professionals they are routine procedures, ones that are done regularly and aren't an emergency life of death thing.

It's not nice when one in postponed but in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter too much compared to postponing an urgent life saving appointment

Oneandtwoandthree Thu 14-Jan-16 07:38:27

But my experience is that doctors seem to have forgotten it's not routine for the patient. The patient knows they could be doing 50 operations of the same thing every week but for those 50 patients it's a unique experience.

Owllady Thu 14-Jan-16 07:39:06

I thought it just meant non emergency?

My daughter hadca major operation recently which is routine at the hospital she hsd it at. It was not downplayed by anyone, the consent form would tell you that alone!

londonrach Thu 14-Jan-16 07:42:48

Yabu in this situation (a strike) they cancel none emergency operations or routine operations. Yes they effect patients quality of life but these routine operations can be moved unlike a operation on someone who had a car accident and needs an operation to live. they making the best use of the staff available.

Sirzy Thu 14-Jan-16 07:45:28

I have never felt any of the routine ops Ds has had have been played down.

Ds is currently waiting another routine procedure done under GA, I know there is a chance that the ongoing strikes will mean that is delayed but that is part and parcel of the strike which I fully support.

honeysucklejasmine Thu 14-Jan-16 07:48:21

I have had a routine operation cancelled on two occasions, neither anything to do with a strike. Both times after I had sat in hospital all day waiting for my turn to go in, which is rather stressful, to say the least.

The first time, a piece of equipment they were planning on using malfunctioned. The second, the surgery before mine ran over and theatre was needed for something else.

It happens. You have to suck it up. Both were related to treatment of chronic pain BTW, so I do understand from that aspect as well. However I would much rather have it cancelled in advance for a (in my opinion) valid reason than sit there all day like I had to. Twice.

StillStayingClassySanDiego Thu 14-Jan-16 07:50:33

Routine just means pre planned, surely and something that is fine numerous times during the day.

Someone needing emergency surgery is completely different.

I've had a hysterectomy, I was one of about 5 women the same day.

StillStayingClassySanDiego Thu 14-Jan-16 07:51:02

* done, not fine.

honeysucklejasmine Thu 14-Jan-16 07:51:49

Oh, and the first time I actually had the operation they couldn't do anything anyway, as it was worse than they thought. So I came round to be told that "yeah, its bad. We couldn't fix it, we'll refer you to Mr X who can deal with it. Bye."

I am grateful they did it. But the point I am trying (badly) to make is that shit happens, even when everyone is trying their best. And even if there was no strike, there's no guarantee the ops would have happened anyway.

Fratelli Thu 14-Jan-16 08:03:18

Yanbu imo. My friends operation was cancelled due to the strike. She's now got to wait for a letter to tell her when it is. She now has to have more time off work, is in pain and has been told it could be another 6 months of waiting. Disgusting.
I also have a friend who is a junior doctor so I do see their side too.

hopelesslydevotedtoGu Thu 14-Jan-16 08:07:54

Routine means non emergency and, from a medical perspective, non urgent- the Condition isn't expected to significantly deteriorate whilst awaiting a routine appointment/ operating slot.

It is nothing to do with how often the surgeon performs the procedure, and makes no judgement on the patient's view of the procedure. It is merely to help organise waiting and theatre lists

Dawndonnaagain Thu 14-Jan-16 08:12:23

Perhaps if Jeremy Hunt stopped trying to play at being Thatcher we would be in the same situation as both Scotland and Wales - no strikes.

expatinscotland Thu 14-Jan-16 08:17:02

I don't blame junior doctors, I blame Jeremy CHunt and the Tories.

Owllady Thu 14-Jan-16 08:23:03

He is such an obnoxious shithead

Tigerblue Thu 14-Jan-16 08:24:10

I think the doctors have had to make a tough decision. I can see this from two points on a personal basis:

DD has recently had a "routine" operation, but you always know there's a slight chance it could have been cancelled and have to accept that. There were problem immediately before she went into theatre, they remained very calm and DD wasn't even aware there was an issue. As said the treatment is routine for the doctors, but to the patient it's an essential thing and most worry about it.

Going back a few years DD had to have an emergency operation. Was told she'd be taken to theatre before 8pm as that's when they finished their shift. They came for her just after 8pm and when we went up to recovery at 11pm, it was the same young team there - they'd stayed on to check she was okay afterwards and update us. Asked them if they'd be paid and the answer was "no". There'd be a lot of us moaning if our DH/OH stayed on an extra three hours and didn't get paid or have time in lieu.

wonkylegs Thu 14-Jan-16 08:27:13

I heard many many drs express regret to patients over the effects of the strike and I think the vast majority of drs are very aware of the effects of cancellations on patients. Which is why my DH didn't take a day of planned leave the other month to do an extra days worth of procedures to knock down the waiting list caused by the beds crisis in his hospital - the strike actually had no effect on waiting lists for his dept, they cancelled no proceedures, more consultants worked to cover, the beds crisis caused by a lack of nursing staff had a far bigger impact.

SleepyForest Thu 14-Jan-16 08:32:50

I support doctors right to strike if they feel they need to. It is really shitty for the patients though as they are vulnerable and in pain.

Perhaps doctors should just refuse to treat politicians? Although they don't use the nhs do they?

Katenka Thu 14-Jan-16 08:42:30

I think the use of 'routine' in the situation was poorly chosen. I do kind of get what the OP is saying.

It isn't routine to the person having it and being told 'your operation is routine to its fine if we cancel it' can be upsetting.

I think 'non emergency' would have been better phrase.

I have no problem with the use of 'routine' in general.

Babycham1979 Thu 14-Jan-16 09:15:28

Your routine operation poses a much higher risk of complications if performed by an over-worked junior. Part of the reason they're taking industrial action is to preserve care quality and safety.

Plenty of people find flying terrifying and do it infrequently; they have my utmost sympathies. That doesn't change the fact that for the pilot and the cabin crew, take-off, landing and severe turbulence are utterly routine.

HPsauciness Thu 14-Jan-16 09:19:14

I agree with you that the word 'routine' often appears to be used in this context to downgrade certain procedures or make them seem a bit minor, when as you say, they are often life-changing for patients and not doing them leaves the person routinely disabled in their everyday lives.

This doesn't make me question the junior dr's strike- for the reason Babycham points out, having over-tired juniors making decisions, either over planned operations or emergencies, is a bad thing.

Alibabsandthe40Musketeers Thu 14-Jan-16 09:20:30

By 'routine' they mean non-emergency. Someone who needs an emergency surgery to save their life will still get it.

It isn't a comment on the experience for the patient or for the staff.

ghostyslovesheep Thu 14-Jan-16 09:21:15

It's just a term - I have had a few 'routine' ops - at no point did the word bother me!

The destruction of the NHS does bother me - lots!

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