"Can this haphazard system be reviewed?"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Ophthalmology

(as the patient),

I attended as an 'emergency' the day after seeing my doctor and was blown away by the incredible, efficient service and the speed with which I was seen and diagnosed. I rushed home to tell everyone how fantastic the NHS was now: I had arrived, been seen and diagnosed in under an hour .... wow! - and for this, I am truly grateful.

So I wonder why the outpatient follow-up appointments are so different? Just two weeks after my incredible experience I waited in ophthalmology outpatients for almost 4 hours. The next visit took just over 2 hours from arrival to being seen by a consultant and only because I badgered the nurses. On all occasions, however, I have to say that the nurses administering the eye tests and drops were really lovely ... as were the consultants when I finally got to see them... but oh dear, the system is so wrong.

Whilst waiting for my third appointment I noticed that my file (with my surname emblazoned on it so I knew it was mine) was next to be picked up (yay! ) but then along came a nurse with an armful of more files which she promptly placed on top of mine and I was back at the bottom of the pile again.

Can this haphazard system be reviewed? Could the appointment system be computerised maybe so the nurses can see clearly who is at what stage of their journey through the department? Maybe one member of the team could deal with more serious/lengthy cases, whilst others do the speedier routine check-ups? There must be so many more ways of dealing with the excessive waiting times than the current system of packing everyone into the morning because I've noticed that when I leave, usually early to mid-afternoon, the department is almost deserted.

Anyway, I am most grateful for the speed with which I was initially diagnosed but disappointed that the excessively long waiting periods for check-ups can't be better organised.

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Response from Lynda Filby, Matron, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear BBee65,

As Matron for the Ophthalmology clinic I am really pleased to hear about your good experience of the service but very disappointed to read about how long you had to wait in clinic to be seen. We are very aware that some of our clinics over run and patients have to wait an unaccepatable length of time to be seen and we are really sorry that this has been your experience. We have been working very hard to try and improve our waiting times and communication to patients both when they arrive in clinic and whilst patients are waiting. I will be sharing your comments with the Ophthalmology team and we will be looking to see if further improvements can be made based on your feedback. I would also be very happy to meet you to discuss your concerns further if you so wish. My contact details are lynda.filby@sash.nhs.uk.

Kind regards

Lynda Filby

Matron for Surgery

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