"Three visits - two completely different..."

About: Queen Elizabeth I I Hospital (Welwyn Garden City)

The first time I visited the Vicky Adkins Breast Unit I had a fantastic experience. I had mistakenly came a day earlier (!) and told the receptionist. She said to wait and ten minutes later I saw the consultant. Everything was well and I was told that I was going to receive a letter with two appointments for a mammogram and a MRI scan. On the day of my appointments on my second visit I was seen on time by friendly and professional staff. All this changed on my third visit to get my consultation for the results. I came 10 minutes earlier and was checked in by the receptionist. My appointment was at 3.10 pm. She told me to sit down and wait. At 3.45 I asked her if she could let me know when I would be seen. I said to her that normally I would not care what time they would see me but on that particular day I had a train to catch to go up north at 6pm and would need to travel back to Letchworth from Welwyn, a journey that at rush hour may take up to 50 minutes. She told me that all appointments were one hour behind schedule and that I would be seen by 4.10. At 4.20 pm I approached her again and asked her for an update, reminding her of my predicaments about the train journey. She said she would check with the consultant's assistant. She came back and told me that there were two patients before me and then I would be seen. Three more patients went in and they were all patients who came after me. By then it was 4.45 I asked the receptionist again. She said that the consultant assistant had put my files on top of the pile but the consultant disregarded the order and called whoever he wanted. I then reminded her that I needed to catch the train at 6pm. She came back and told me that the consultant assistant had my file and was bringing it to the doctor attention. Nothing happened so when I saw the doctor calling another patient, I said "Are you doctor [name]?" He said he was. I then said "I have been here for nearly 2 hours and I mentioned to the receptionist that I was concerned as I had to catch a train at 6 o' clock and could she speak to you as if you can't see me now I will have to leave." His answer was "I am not prepared to have a patient tell me how to run my clinic". At no time, did he show any concern for my plight, nor did he apologise for keeping me wait without any information. If I didn't ask the receptionist I would have still be waiting there. As a result I had to leave (it was then 5 pm). I asked the receptionist to give me another appointment and told her I could only come on a Friday. She told me they only see people on Tuesday or Thursday. By then I was so frustrated and stressed I left the ward in tears with no appointment. I had to take a day off as I normally work on Tuesday for that appointment. Three visits and a completely different experience on the last one. Very disappointed by the lack of communication and lack of empathy.

Story from NHS Choices

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Queen Elizabeth I I Hospital

We're very concerned about what happened during this recent to the breast clinic at the QEII, which we need to follow-up for you. Whilst we can't undo what happened, we can seek to understand the sequence of events through their careful examination. We hope you will give us that chance - just email us at generalenquiries.enh-tr@nhs.net and we will take it from there. Please accept our apologies for your poor experience - but we hope that if we can investigate your concerns, we can at least find out what happened and why.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful