"More than just calm, smiling, efficient patient care"

About: Princess Alexandra Eye Pavillion

(as the patient),

Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion Edinburgh

Whatever recipe the Eye Pavilion uses to produce it’s calm, smiling, efficient care, it should be bottled and distributed to every other hospital trust.

On a cool morning last week at 7. 30 am, I, and several others, reported at reception on Ward 2E for surgery. I was not the only one who was apprehensive and nervous, not looking forward to a day of hanging about in waiting areas and undergoing rather frightening surgical procedures.

We were greeted individually by smiling staff who escorted each of us, one by one, to our seats and booked us in. Only then did they tell us that they had just completed their busy night duty rota and then introduced us to the day staff who took over with the same calm unhurried efficiency, dispensing eye drops, instructions and information. Each member of staff and doctor came straight to us and greeted us by name thanks to a clever system whereby each individual had been taken to the numbered seat allocated previously which related to our information and the theatre surgery list of that day – simple but so clever, instead of a nurse or doctor standing at the end of a large waiting area shouting out a name above the noise and so we felt like human beings not just an anonymous ’patient’.

The same feeling of safety and welcome followed on when we were each taken up to the operating theatre, the porter greeted us by name, introduced the theatre nurse when we arrived and did not, as has happened to me several times in other hospitals, just park me in a corridor or waiting area and leave without a word.

There were eight procedures with varying eye conditions taking place in one operating theatre during that morning, patients ranging in age from early 20s to 96. We had the opportunity to chat while we waited our turn and learned how important this was for each of us. One person in danger of losing their sight after an accident, another in their late twenties, with a partner and baby, having to give up work because of a growth in the eye, the 96 year old, very grateful that the cataract operation would enable them to continue to live independently in their own home.

And me – well I am a fairly typical lady in my eighties, yes I have a heart condition and pacemaker, 30 years ago I had breast cancer and I have arthritis and so have had reason to spend time in hospitals from London to Edinburgh and a couple of places in between.

The positive atmosphere and group dynamic at the Princess Alexandra extended to more than just efficient patient care, it was noticeable that staff greeted each other pleasantly and acknowledged and even smiled at visitors and patients as they passed in the corridors instead of rushing by, head averted, looking stressed as I have observed in other places. This is a small hospital, although part of a large trust, but the fact it is in ‘human sized’ building may have something to do with the beneficial results I observed. Anyone who has tried to grapple with the colour coded nightmare of other hospitals' signage or the huge, overwhelming maze of our largest and most modern hospitals in Edinburgh, will understand why most patients I have spoken too feel happier and more comfortable in smaller venues. I know this goes against modern thinking which is for cost saving and efficiency but…..I have seen the results.

My grateful thanks to all the lovely management and nursing staff at the Princess Alexandra and especially to Dr Tint who is so very talented and who allayed my fears and restored my sight.

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Response from Jeannette Morrison, Head of Patient Experience, NHS Lothian

Dear Harifkah

Thank you so very much for taking the time to share with us your lovely feedback following your recent visit to the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion.

It is lovely to hear feedback such as yours; where things go smoothly for people when they come into our hospitals for any sort of care or treatment. From reading your post, I can only imagine what an anxious time this could have been for you and the rest of your fellow patients that morning. It was just lovely to read how well the staff worked together so that there was a feeling of safety and welcoming ahead of your planned procedures.

I have shared your wonderful feedback with the clinical team and in particular with Dr Tint who I am sure will be delighted to read your kind words. We will need to give some consideration as to how we can bottle this to share around!

I do hope that you are now well on the mend.

As an organisation we do really value the feedback we get from patients, especially when it is as positive as yours so thank you again for sharing yours with us.

With best wishes


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