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"Incredibly hostile staff"

About: South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust / SSE Arena Vaccination Centre

(as a service user),

I genuinely had the worst experience of my entire life at the SSE Arena the other day when I went to my vaccine appointment. Firstly, the two staff immediately across the road who were meant to be signposting people to the queues were not engaging with the public, simply having conversations between themselves as everyone went past. I stopped to ask them where I was meant to go, and they simply told me to follow the path up to the arena side of the Odyssey.

When I did this, there were two queues so I joined the one which was being pointed as the Pfizer queue, considering I opted not to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. The staff member in this queue was much more helpful, who checked I was in the right place. When I finally reached the front of the queue and entered the building, a different member of staff got my attention and asked if I had signed in. I wasn't too sure what this meant, but presumed it meant if I had checked in with staff or not - which I had, by checking with the two initial staff upon crossing the road, and then when I joined the queue. This member of staff told me no - that they (bearing in mind, I had never seen this person before in my life) had specifically told me (claiming that they remembered my coat) to go left to sign in, and that I'd specifically ignored them.

Now I was confused, so I replied - no, it was the two staff by the Fonacab telephone box that I checked in with, then another staff member in the queue. I didn't understand what was going on, yet this particular member of staff got so incredibly aggressive with me, continuing to tell me that in fact no, I was wrong, and that they had told me to go left and that I was essentially doing whatever I wanted.

This was quite overwhelming, and during this conversation, I had asked this staff member two-to-three times what they wanted me to do, if I should leave to re join the left-hand side queue to sign in, yet they continued to berate me and tell me that I had ignored them... which I hadn't. Evidently, this member of staff thought I was someone else. By the third time I asked what I should do, I was told to join the front of the sign-in queue, but when I did and waited, the sign-in staff did not appear to be taking any people at that time and I felt a bit awkward 'cutting' the line especially after the full scene the member of staff had made, so before I left, reiterated to the member of staff that I was going to re-join the queue (it wasn't that long anyway).

After saying this, I started to head out, at which point they shouted over me to the outside staff that they didn't know what I was muttering about now...

Now, I had been extremely calm until this point, even in the face of being accused of lying and deliberately flouting the rules. I turned to this member of staff, and said that I had just told them I was re-joining the queue, and that maybe they wasn't able to hear me because I had a mask on. I was then told that they didn't ask me to leave the queue (which is true - they'd told me to join the front), but I told said I was just happy enough to re-join the end (as again, it wasn't that long and I felt uncomfortable standing at the front while no one was moving and feeling like I was getting eyes in the back of my head for seemingly cutting the line).

At this point, this member of staff got even more aggressive, and to be completely honest I cannot remember what they said because I was getting so overloaded mentally and stressed that they were so aggressive with me in front of two full lines of people outside.

This actually triggered me to have a panic attack, which is extremely unusual for me, simply because such a scene in front of all these people waiting for the vaccine had been made. As I was getting upset and very uncomfortable, I said - I don't know why you're making this such a big deal, when it doesn't need to be, I was just re-joining the queue but I think I'll come back another time. I did not want to do this, as obviously it's very difficult to get bookings and I had taken time out of my day to travel down, wait in the Pfizer queue, only to get verbally harassed but I was so unbelievably uncomfortable and could feel myself near tears.

As I walked away, again, this member of staff announced to the outside staff something to the effect of: I never told this person to leave, they are doing whatever they wants again.

I am so unbelievably upset by this entire experience, as now on top of having an absolutely horrific experience, I now can't even get another vaccine booked. I'm just hoping that policies don't come in that restrict certain things (eg events) to only vaccinated people, because this member of staff has pushed back my vaccine schedule till - who knows when. I would highly encourage the staff to look at the security footage of this incident as I am honestly so extremely upset, angry, and disgraced by this behaviour.

I honestly just hope that it doesn't happen to anyone else, especially as getting vaccinated is already such a stressful experience for so many people.


Response from Conor Campbell, Safe and Effective Care Senior Manager, Safe & Effective Care, South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust last week
Conor Campbell
Safe and Effective Care Senior Manager, Safe & Effective Care,
South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust

Assurance and improvement

Submitted on 11/06/2021 at 15:50
Published on Care Opinion at 15:50

picture of Conor Campbell

Hi peanutdog

Thank you for sharing your experience at SSE Vaccination Centre.

I apologise that you have had such a negative experience that does not align to the standards that the Trust want each and every patient to experience.

I have shared your story with Vaccination Service leadership for consideration and appropriate responsive action.

If you wish to do so,please call me on 07715801634 to discuss re-arrangement of your vaccination appointment.

again, I apologise for your negative experience which is not in keeping with Trust standards of care.

Best wishes


  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Update posted by peanutdog (a service user)

Hi Conor

Thank you so much for your response. I will give you a call tomorrow during office hours regarding rearrangement of my appointment, it is greatly appreciated:)

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