"The doctor who finally treated ..."

About: Royal Preston Hospital

(as a relative),

What I liked

The doctor who finally treated my mother was great. As was the Radiology dept.

What could be improved

My mother was recently sent to the Surgical Assessment ward at RPH. She waited for approximately 5.5 hours to be seen by a doctor and in total, including a trip to radiology, spent around 7 hours at the hospital that day. My comments do not relate to the amount of time spent waiting, however. The thing that concerned me most was the complete lack of communication from the staff in that ward during the time my mother spent there. She was left sitting in an uncomfortable chair for hours on end, having been told not to eat or drink, and, above all else, was in pain. I was with her during this entire experience.

At no point did a member of staff bother to come into the waiting room to explain the delay, offer reassurances to the patients waiting there, check if they were alright, advise whether they could take a small amount of drink/food to keep them going etc. There was an elderly lady in the waiting room too in a wheelchair. The first time I saw a member of staff even speaking to her was after about 3/4 hours at which point she said she was desperate for the toilet and really thirsty (I felt ashamed that I didn't do anything for her before this point, admittedly I was preoccupied with my mum).

After three or four hours I approached a member of staff myself (had to wander down the corridor) and asked when my mum was likely to be seen, to which I was met with a barrage of 'well, we're short-staffed, the doctors are running late, we can't give you a time' etc. and I was made to feel like I was inconveniencing them by simply asking.

I could go on a lot longer about this experience but the advice to RPH about what could be improved is this: you need to improve your staff's communication skills. Their sheer lack of consideration of the patients waiting to be seen was astounding. The length of time spent waiting would have been much easier to take had it been accompanied by a regular update from the ward staff, some reassurance that we were not forgotten about and that they were making every effort to see the patients as soon as possible. The lack of action from these staff members leaves a lasting impression on patients and my mother has used her choice as a patient to have the surgery she requires at another hospital rather than going to RPH.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Royal Preston Hospital

We are sorry to hear that your experience was not positive at Royal Preston Hospital. Communication skills are a mandatory part of training for medical staff and as a teaching hospital we also provide communication skills sessions for our students, who are the doctors of the future.

Your comments about the lack of care will be forwarded to the unit concerned in an effort to learn from you and your mother’s experience and ensure it is not repeated.

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