"Pathology - extremely rude and unhelpful"

About: Medway Maritime Hospital

I telephoned the pathology dept today on the advice of my GP surgery. I spoke to a member of staff and asked how long it takes for the results of toe nail clippings to be sent back to my GP. They were totally dismissive, and kept interrupting me. They were like a robot and just kept repeating that they could not talk to me due to Data Protection. I completely understand the rules surrounding this (it's part of my job), but I asked a generic question " in their experience how long do the results take?" They would not answer this fairly straightforward question and kept quoting "Data Protection". I then asked them what was the point in answering the telephone - they then said they were ending the call and put the phone down me. How rude.

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Response from Medway Maritime Hospital

It is with great dismay that I read this comment. This is not how we would expect our staff to respond to an enquiry and not how, the normally very professional, staff deal with the public in general. You can be assured that this will be picked up with the team. I will also ensure that we discuss this at the senior staff meetings as well. It is not uncommon for people to try and gain information that would breach the information governance rules and guidance which would be a serious position for a member of staff to find themselves in. Fortunately this is something the staff are on the ball with and we do insist that staff are careful. It sounds very much like they have overreacted about this and in actual fact, in this situation it would have been perfectly acceptable to give you the correct response of “about three weeks”. I can only apologise and assure you that we will put some training sessions in place to remind the staff that although there is a requirement to protect patient confidentiality when seeking their results, a generic response around turnaround times is not going to breach information governance guidance. I will also describe, using your feedback, how this approach has been perceived as rude, in the hope that a little reflection and training time will prevent this happening again. Thank you for giving us the chance to learn by giving us this feedback. Chris Gunn General Manager - North Kent Pathology Service

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