"Endoscopy appointment"

About: Royal Bolton Hospital

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I brought my mum, aged 85, in for an endoscopy apt on Monday 29th July 2013. Appt time 2.15pm. We arrived early, by choice, for the apt around 1.45pm. On arriving at the Endoscopy Dept the receptionist/nurse on duty was finishing dealing with the previous patient and obviously had some paperwork to deal with, however she did not acknowledge the presence of myself and my mum at the reception desk and completed her paperwork in front of us before acknowledging our presence. It would have been easy to look up from her work to at least say something like "sorry, I wont keep you a moment". When my mum had produced her paperwork the receptionist said that I, as her daughter, would not be allowed to stay in the endoscopy waiting area, and would be allowed to wait in the hospital but not in that waiting area, despite there being several empty seats available. My mum was nervous about the apt and it would have been comforting for her for me to be with her before the procedure. The receptionist therefore took my mobile telephone number so ring me when my mum had finished her treatment. I therefore left the waiting area. It was my choice to stay at the hospital to wait for my my mum. Therefore I went to the ground floor café and waited there. After around an hour or so I went back to the endoscopy waiting area to check what was the maximum time that my mum was likely to be there, expecting by that time that my mum had been taken in for the procedure, however she was still in the waiting area, alone. No update had been provided to her about how long she was likely to wait. Obviously there would have been no harm at all in me waiting with her. I asked the receptionist why there was a delay. Her attitude was quite defensive. She said that I had provided a telephone number to be contacted, which I acknowledged. However it seemed ridiculous to me that my 85 year old anxious mum had had to wait in that waiting area and there was I in a different part of the hospital, not knowing that she was still sat there! When I saw that she was still say there is left her with a newspaper to fill her time. I notice that at that point the receptionist had gone into the endoscopy unit to find out what the waiting period was, however my mum had been sat there for over an hour and she had not bothered to do this before to provide information. When I returned to the waiting area later and asked how long my mum would be, and by this time it was getting to the maximum time advised, around 3 hours, I was told that she would not be long and that I could wait in the waiting area! I am not happy with this level of customer service, especially for an 85 year old lady, when I could have quite easily have stayed with her in the waiting area. I think the receptionist is not suited to this type of work in terms of sensitivity of patient/family anxiety.

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Response from Royal Bolton Hospital

It is standard practice for most endoscopy departments to ask visitors to leave once the patient has been booked in for their appointment. Our waiting area is small with only six seats and is kept for patients who have been booked in, do not need to change out of their clothes, but are waiting for their procedure. We will make very occasional exceptions and let a relative stay if, for example, the patient is distressed. When you were not permitted to wait with your mother before her procedure it will have been because more patients were expected to need the spaces. It is likely that when you were later permitted to sit in the waiting area, it was because no other patients were due back at that time. I’m sorry this wasn’t explained to you properly and that you were not happy with the receptionist’s attitude. This is not in keeping with this individual’s usual behaviour and I will raise your concerns with her. Janice Lyon, Endoscopy Unit Manager

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