"My mother's laser eye surgery"

About: Royal Bournemouth General Hospital / Ophthalmology

(as a relative),

My Mother attended the RBH for Laser Eye Surgery today. She was asked to position herself and the stay very still. My mother is 85 years old and found this very difficult.

I understand the importance of this and indeed the ramifications but I fail to see how the doctor raising his voice is going to help. Why was there not a nurse in the procedure room to reassure and help my mother? I would have thought this would be obligatory.

Surely it is not permissible for doctors to raise their voice to patients? On the plus side my mother was very impressed with her surroundings and everyone else she encounter.

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Response from Sue Mellor, Patient Experience Lead, Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Dear M R

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us and I am sorry to hear your mother has had a bad experience in the ophthalmology department. I have spoken with the department and they have explained that due to health and safety reasons a nurse is not routinely in the laser room unless specifically requested to be there by patient or clinician. The nurse will be in the vicinity outside the door preparing the patients on the list so will be available if needed.

As you have mentioned, it is vital the patient sits still during the procedure and as there is a large machine between clinician and patient; with many of our patients being more elderly and possibly hard of hearing the clinicians tend to raise their voice to ensure the patient complies with his/her instructions. I am sorry if on this particular occasion the clinician came across in what appears to be a less than friendly manner. Without more specific details it is always difficult to give a concise response to an individual event but if you would like us to look further into this matter it would be helpful if you called our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 01202 704886.

We value all feedback as it is used to inform and improve our services and again I thank you for taking the time to share your concern as I know it will be discussed at the next ophthalmology team meeting.


Sue Mellor

Head of Patient Experience

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Update posted by M R (a relative)

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

I am puzzled that nursing staff are not routinely in the procedure room and that H&S is the reason. When a patient has laser cystoscopy in an Endoscopy Suite there is a doctor and two nurses in the room. One nurse is responsible for the equipment and the other is there solely for the patient. All present wear personal protective equipment. The need to remain very still is so much more acute in laser eye surgery and with this in mind I am still at a loss why there is not a nurse present. I cannot see why H&S is the reason as PPE is available.

There is another point to consider and that is the need for a chaperone. The doctor is in the personal space of the patient and therefore both are vulnerable. I would have thought that for the reassurance of both the doctor and the patient a nurse should be present.

As for the doctor raising his voice, my mother hears perfectly well with her hearing aids. I do not want to make a formal complaint. However I do feel that the medical staff should be made aware of the impact their behaviour has on their patients.

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