"The reputation of the hospital ..."

About: Royal Free Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

The reputation of the hospital and it's connection with UCL.

The secretarial staff care and always go the extra mile to help.

The nurse running the waiting room in the Orthopaedic clinic is an angel.

What could be improved

The unrefurbished corridors are dark and remind me of a nuclear bunker.

The reception staff take an age to do anything and lack any human qualities.

I destroyed my elbow in a road accident and the A&E staff were caring, but the wait for a slot on the major injuries side was not good and meant the registrar had to attempt to reduce my elbow without full anaesthetic - which was a character building experience for me.

The orthopaedic waiting area is dreadful and soul destroying - a coat of paint and better lighting would make a great difference.

Amusingly, if you turn up on time for a 10am appointment, you don't get seen until 1pm.

The Orthopaedic Consultants and registrars are overworked, and understaffed - they don't have the time to explain your condition and treatment options.

The waiting times for urgent scans are not good - I was referred for an urgent CT scan and was given an appointment in a month.

Anything else?

The Trauma and Orthopaedic medical staff are overworked.

Nobody explained the extent of my injury.

On my first appointment I asked about my injury and simply told to start exercising after a few days.

On the second appointment, they gave me a simple cuff to rest my arm and told me to exercise, I asked if my injury was OK and was promptly told I needed a urgent CT Scan. The Urgent CT scan was scheduled for a month later.

By constantly telephoning and asking for cancellations they fitted me in four days later. Only then did they reveal that they had known all along that I had a problem and needed surgery.

Of course there were more things they didn't tell me, nobody mentioned that I might need a joint replacement until they asked me to sign the consent form - Now I know how it feels to be bounced into giving consent.

I am confident of the skill of the consultants, but I don't like being kept in the dark.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Royal Free Hospital

We're sorry you had such a poor experience of our service. If you would like us to investigate further and give you a fuller response on the particular circumstances of your case, please contact our PALS service with more detail of when you attended and we will take this further. You can find details of how to contact our PALS service on our website at www.royalfree.nhs.uk - see the pages for patients.

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