"Long wait to see spinal specialist"

About: Southmead Hospital

I was shocked at the length of time and the lack of care shown by staff when we visited the orthopaedic "gate" - yes, we are not to speak of departments, wards or clinics, but "gates" like we are awaiting a trip to Spain or something. However, after being called quickly to the "gate" it was all too quickly like a trip to an airport, with a two hour wait for my wife to see a consultant. The staff didn't seem to have a clue about what was going on, and one person there was quite indifferent to the people and kept saying that they didn't know what the problem was and that we had to be patient. This member of staff kept wandering off for breaks of leaning against the wall out of sight. My wife is in a wheelchair in in quite some considerable pain, and we were kept waiting, there was no signage to indicate wait time like at the BRI and staff did not issue apologies or reassurance. It seemed a shambles. Eventually we got to see a doctor, who did an investigation and then immediately asked us to fill in a customer satisfaction from from the General Medical Council while still in his office in front of the doctor, who said so they could get residence in the UK to escape from another country! You couldn't make this stuff up. The doctor had a pile of these filled in by previous patients on the table in front of us. I read a couple while the doctor did the examination. We have decided they we would never like to go back to Southmead Hospital again.

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Response from Steven Sykes, Advice & Complaints Team Manager, North Bristol NHS Trust

Dear Mr Gilbert – I am sorry that your experience yesterday was so poor. The use of "Gates" within the new Brunel Building was I understand developed on the model used in many hospitals across Europe and is based on the airport system. I understand that patient opinion gathered as part of the planning for the Brunel Building was that this method is the clearest means of signposting locations, however, I acknowledge in line with other feedback received that many people dislike it.

The lack of information about waiting times is disturbing and clearly all patients should understand how long they may need to wait. I am sorry that this communication breakdown/failure meant that your wife was in unnecessary pain.

I also note your comments about the doctors timing in respect of the survey, clearly this was inappropriate under the circumstances and your feedback has been shared with the relevant departments.

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to post your views.

Kind regards

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