Allison Wainman OBE – Patient testimonial
7th December 2020
At the beginning of March 2020 I was diagnosed with an Inguinal Hernia by my GP. It was a very common Hernia and he arranged for a local hospital to provide a consultation and a date to operate on it. Unfortunately the date was cancelled as the hospital closed to patients as the COVID-19 virus spread. Once the lockdown arrived all patients needing treatment without Coronavirus were to give way to COVID-19 patients.
When the lockdown ended at the end of July my GP made an appointment to see him in August to see how I was getting on. He suggested that I had waited long enough and made an appointment with another local hospital to arrange a consultation date at the beginning of October. This showed that I needed an operation but as it was not classed as an emergency the hospital could not provide a date. My GP was very disappointed. He thought I really needed the operation to be carried out before it got to the stage that it had become an emergency. He made another appointment at another hospital and though they agreed to do the operation once again could not provide a date. By then I was also becoming pretty fed up as well and turned to the Internet.
I discovered that there was a Hernia Unit at the charitable St John and St Elizabeth Hospital in St John’s Wood. I had no knowledge of the Hospital except that the name seemed to ring a bell. After giving some thought I suddenly remembered that many years ago when I was a young thing working in London and sharing a flat with two other girls, one of them I was certain had something to do with the hospital. I rang my friend, Teresa, who now lives in Devon and she confirmed that her family had a long standing relationship with the hospital. Apart from helping them to raise money for St John’s Hospice, they also sent several members of the family to work there as well. I was told about a great aunt, a nun, who had devoted her entire life to the hospital and an aunt who trained there as a nurse. Even though she eventually decided she couldn’t cope with the high nursing standards, she spent many hours helping to raise funds for the hospice.
I explained the difficulty I was having and Teresa suggested that I phone the Hospital. I rang the following day and was amazed when the person who answered listened to my story and put me in touch with one of the consultant’s administrators. “If you can get here by late afternoon” she said, “Mr Okaro, one of our consultants will see you”. I agreed to do so. Before I left home I received a comprehensive letter explaining everything I needed to know. It gave details not only how to get there and how to manage the infection control measures the Hospital had.
I live in Kent on the North Downs so the thought of going into an NHS hospital with so much going on around COVID did worry me. Arriving at St John & St Elizabeth I was very reassured by all the protocols that were in place not to mention how well they were all sign-posted so you knew it was actually being practiced.
I was seen by Mr Okaro at the time suggested. He listened to my tale and then suggested that, provided I could arrive the following day for a COVID test that proved negative, he would operate on me on Friday, two days later. He explained that my GP was quite right to say I’d waited long enough and I was booked in for admission at 7.30 am.
Obviously going private comes with a cost but I was always kept informed of what that cost was going to be. It was always very clearly laid out for me to understand. Right from the beginning I knew how much I was going to pay which is very reassuring when you’re going private.
I arrived at the hospital as agreed and the operation was over at about 10.30 am. After a short stay in the recovery ward I spent another three hours in my own room being looked after, fed, watered and continually checked to make certain I was fit enough to go home. Because I’d left the house so early and wasn’t allowed to eat prior to the operation they very kindly provided me with food and drink. The food was very good, I had a lovely soup and a sandwich. Two nurses helped me to the car that brought me to London that day and by late afternoon I was back home in Kent.
The treatment St John and St Elizabeth Hospital provided was amazing. Everything that happened after I entered the hospital was carried out to make certain I was comfortable, safe and receiving the best care possible.