"Incompetence - same old same old"

About: Chase Farm Hospital

I had a 14:00 ENT appointment today and, aware of the NHS emphasis on punctuality and the reasons therefor, I arrived at 13:50. There were five or six people already waiting. I asked the receptionist where I was in the queue and was told that there was a 13:45 appointment still waiting to be seen. I took that to mean I was second and sat down to wait having, based on past experience, not really expected the NHS to be influenced itself by its exhortations to patients for punctuality. After all we only pay for it. At 14:15, there having been no movement apart from a consultant and one or two other staff wandering around (metaphorically twiddling their thumbs) plus a steady trickle of people joining the queue of patients, I ventured to the desk for an update on likely waiting times. Whilst the receptionist was explaining that the delay had been caused by patients’ notes not turning up, the patients’ notes turned up. This I suppose was progress of a sort since it was better than them having been lost. I asked again how many were in front of me and this time was told four! Even if the consultant worked to his 15 minute windows, that meant a wait of an hour on top of the 15 minutes already lost, but it was likely to be longer. It does seem sometimes that it is NHS strategy to keep patients waiting in the hope that some may, during the waiting, fall by the wayside thus shortening backlogs. I left, which I suppose justifies the strategy.

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Response from Chase Farm Hospital

I am very sorry and concerned to learn of your experience regarding the delay to your appointment with the ENT Service and I offer my sincere apologies for the upset and inconvenience caused. We do expect our staff to keep patients updated on any delays and I am sorry that this did not occur on this occasion. I notice that your response is anonymous and, therefore, should you wish us investigate your experience further then please do contact our Patient, Advice and Liaison Team (PALS) by email at bcfpals@nhs.net or by telephone on 0208 216 4924. Kind regards The PALS Team

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