Stevenage woman’s Surgicentre criticism over plans for unnecessary operation

There have been further complaints about the privately-run Lister Surgicentre, which is based at Lis

There have been further complaints about the privately-run Lister Surgicentre, which is based at Lister Hospital - Credit: Josh Massey

AN ELDERLY woman who was due to undergo an eye operation at the Lister Surgicentre after months of worry has been told by a specialist hospital that she doesn’t require treatment.

Alfonsina Dinallo first visited the privately-run facility based at Lister Hospital in Stevenage last January to have a mole checked on her right eye.

The Stevenage resident had previously been given the all-clear about a problem with her left eye by the QEII Hospital the year before but was then told by a Surgicentre consultant that the eye had to be operated on.

The 70-year-old’s operation to repair a wrinkled lens – which causes blurred and distorted vision – was eventually scheduled for October last year, after attending a number of appointments where she was sent home without being seen.

At a pre-operation appointment Mrs Dinallo waited for more than an hour before being taken into a room with other patients where she was asked if she was there for a sight test.

Afterwards she was told by a nurse that her medical file had been lost, the third occasion in less than a year.

Unhappy with her treatment, Mrs Dinallo raised her concerns with Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland and managed to arrange an appointment at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London to get a second opinion.

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Following an examination at the specialist hospital earlier this year, she was told by a consultant that she did not require an operation but was wearing the wrong strength glasses.

“I’ve had a very bad experience with the Surgicentre and I am angry because I was led to believe I needed an eye operation,” Mrs Dinallo told the Comet.

“After many months of worry and a series of errors by them, I had to seek a second opinion and this revealed, eventually, that an eye operation wasn’t necessary. So why was I on their waiting list for one?”

Daughter Nicolina Manfredi, who also lives in Stevenage, added: “When you go there for yourself and see that they’re not really sure what they’re doing it’s scary to think your mum’s life is in their hands. Thank God we walked away but if we hadn’t my mum would’ve had that operation by now without needing it. It’s been a rollercoaster.

“I would like to know who it was that said she needed an operation in the first place and why they were about to operate on someone who didn’t need one. I think people should know what’s been going on.”

GPs have not been referring new ophthalmology patients to the Surgicentre since last August due to a backlog, and health watchdog the Care Quality Commission is currently considering what action will be taken after an unsatisfactory inspection before Christmas.

A spokesman for Clinicenta Ltd, which runs the Surgicentre and is part of Carillion, said the company would be undertaking a thorough review of Mrs Dinallo’s case and would write to her in due course.

The spokesman added: “Following the transfer of services to Clinicenta, her patient notes were available for her attendances – albeit at her last appointment with us these regrettably did not arrive for the consultant beforehand.

“At this point she refused to wait for them to arrive and hence did not discuss the options available. It is clear from her patient record which clinical conditions were being monitored, but we do apologise if Mrs Dinallo’s conditions, and the limited benefits of surgical interventions, were not clearly explained.”