"Outpatient care requires improvement"
Posted by David Vinson
I took my elderly neighbour to the Outpatients department for an 10:30 am appointment. We arrived at 10:25 and I checked him with the receptionist, he sat in the waiting area in front of the receptionist. I returned 30 minutes later to find him still waiting, he was called to his appointment by a nurse at 11:35. Neither the receptionist or the nurse explained that there would be delay to me, him or the assembled patients in the waiting area. I asked the receptionist how an early appointment could be so late and was informed that people were told about the delay on arrival and during the extended wait - we clearly were not informed. After some further discussion the receptionist admitted that this delay was fairly normal as the doctor gets detained in his previous duties/rounds. This is not an acceptable way to organise treatment and I would suggest the following improvements: 1 Organise a visual display that indicates the waiting time - the target should be none. 2 Plan for the doctor's appointments to start later if he is regularly delayed. 3 Train all staff (including doctors) that the patient is the important customer to be seen in a timely manner, where lateness is a 5% occurrence.