"I felt the staff were rude"

About: Heartlands Hospital / Clinical haematology

(as the patient),

I’ve been having more-or-less weekly blood tests for several months to monitor my rather variable INR while taking Warfarin. Last week, at the suggestion of one of the anti-coagulant nurse team, I transferred to ‘postal dosing’. This means handing the yellow anti-coagulant record book to the phlebotomist, who sends it off with the blood sample. I was told that the book is returned a few days later with the current INR and date of next clinic attendance marked in it.

Today, concerned at having heard nothing in the five days since my blood sample was taken, I rang the anti-coagulant number. The person who answered told me that there was a backlog in dealing with the yellow books; because of illness and holidays the team were dealing with three hospitals’ patients and were completely snowed under.

When I said that I was concerned at the non-return of my book – because I will shortly need a repeat prescription, for which my surgery requires sight of the book with current INR – I was told that I “shouldn’t leave it so long between prescriptions”. When I pointed out that I hadn’t anticipated how long it would take to return the book it was iterated the pressures that the nurses are currently under.

To me, the tone appeared very brusque and they tended to talk across me. I understood that the team appear to be very stressed, but that doesn’t excuse rudeness to patients.

The call was abruptly terminated …

I rang back, and this time one of the anti-coagulant nurses answered. When I explained my concerns, and commented that I had found the previous person rather rude, the response was “No, they weren’t at all rude. I was listening to the conversation and she wasn’t rude at all”. I can only say that we obviously have different standards. The nurse asked my why I was having weekly INR checks, and asked me why I had transferred to postal dosing (explained above). In response to my concern that I might not get my yellow book back in time to know whether I have to return to clinic in two days’ time they were to me dismissive, although as they hadn’t seen my book they couldn’t actually know whether that was the case or not. they were brusque, and evidently under pressure – but this doesn’t excuse rudeness.

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Response from Margaret Mitchell, Deputy head for patient services, Heart Of England NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Bootsie, Thank you for your feed back on Patient Opinion. It would be really useful if you could provide us with some of your personal details in order that we can investigate fully the concerns you raised. If you are happy for us to investigate please contact the Patient Services Team on 0121 424 0808 and we will be happy to look into these on your behalf.

Kind regards

Margaret Mitchell

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