"Parking and Outpatient waiting times"

About: Southampton General Hospital

On Wednesday 8th January I had an appoinment at the Eye Unit at 11.45am. I arrived early but was unable to park. I queued to enter the park and when I got in joined 10 or so cars looking for parking spaces. After 15 minutes only 2 cars had parked so I decided to find alternative parking to ensure I arrived on time. I found a space on the Coxford Road and parked on a two hour ticket. Having booked in reception on time, I had vision and field checks completed, and at 12.00 joined the waiting list for the Consultant. A notice showed he was running 45 minutes late, and an attendant assured me that due to lunch I would be away before 1pm. At 1.15pm I had to decide whether to continue to wait and face a £30.00 parking fine, I decided to leave and save the latter, and request another appointment. My previous visit in July had a similar pattern. My appointment was 9.45am and I saw the specialist at 11.50am, but as I was in the hospital car park, all that was at stake was a more expensive charge in the car park. On leaving the hospital on the 8th I found the road completely blocked by cars waiting to park in the hospital car park. It took me 10 minutes to travel 150 yards! Talking to other patients it seems that appoinment delays are common throughout the hospital, every department has waiting areas that are usually full. If this could be managed more successfully this could greatly reduce the pressure on the car parking. Surely it should be possible to target a "30 minutes" waiting time for outpatient appointments. I appreciate that due to concellations some slight overbooking is required so that the specialist's time is optimised, but surely your staff are experienced enough and capable to manage this. The hospital appears to have developed a general waiting culture in all areas. Why do they accept that in a morning or afternoon period appointment time can slip for 2 hours. The attendants were very efficient but the problem appears to be a management failure. "Patience" seems an appropriate name for people attending this hospital as outpatients. I had a knee operation appointment at Care UK, South Hants. All specialists appointments were achieved within 20 minutes of the appointment time. If you achieved this the average car parking time could be halved (or capacity doubled)! Your comments would be appreciated. Ronald A Cross

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Response from Southampton General Hospital

Thank you for posting your feedback. We are sorry to read of your poor experience and would like to apologise that you were unable to park promptly on Wednesday 8 January. We understand that it was an extremely busy day with queues for the car park. Our Traffic Management team are acutely aware of increased pressures in our onsite parking facilities and review this on a regular basis. The aim in the Eye Unit clinics is to see patients to have their vision checked within 15 minutes which is the start of the pathway after which further imaging may be required along with the consultation to see the doctor. The target is to complete the visions, imaging and appointment within 2 hours. We appreciate that you felt unable to wait and trust that at subsequent visits you will have a better experience.

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