"My first mammogram"

About: Horsham Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

My first mammogram was quite painful as I have cysts in the breast so the pressure made this excruciatingly painful.

Surrinder and Ku, the nurses were very sympathetic though.

My next appointment was a biopsy in mid October and Surrinder, Ku, Anne Assistant were all very kind and reassuring.

The only problem I have had is that I was directed to the outpatient reception to make an appointment for the following Thursday to ascertain my results.

At the desk, they said, no you don't make appointments here and who sent you. They then they gave me a slip of paper to phone saying, "APPOINTMENTS OFFICE EAST SURREY HOSPITAL, TEL: 01737 784 000

When I phoned this number, they then asked who was my consultant and gave me the secretaries number for my consultant. The secretary was extremely vague and said, who gave you this number. Eventually she said she would have to go into the system and even though I gave her my birth date, she was still very unsure. Eventually I said, can you not find me on the system? She said, that's not the problem, the problem is that your consultant is away for October so we will have to get back to you.

Two days later, I phoned her again to find out when I can have my appointment for late next week. She asked for my birth date again and then said she would have to call me back. I asked if I could make sure they had my correct details as last time they didn't call back and they were manually updated by a nurse on the system. She said she'd have to go into the system to check and proceeded to read out an incorrect mobile number.. She then suggested I wait for them to call me back after Monday's meeting and if I didn't hear from anyone by Tuesday to call back.

In my opinion, I feel that waiting for an appointment to be made to hear whether my DCIS is low grade non-invasive or high grade invasive is a very stressful time. This is well documented on Macmillan's website.

I would like the management to feed back to all departments that internal communication procedures should be of high importance. The x-ray Mammography department should know that the Outpatients Department will give just a general telephone number on a slip of paper, which will then re-direct patients back to the secretary of their original consultant.

In my opinion the secretary should professionally pick up the phone and say, Good morning or good afternoon, not simply hello. She should not give the impression that she couldn't care less. Also, repeat back a birth date clearly, so she understands when she has got the details wrong and the patient can also understand if she has got this information wrong, which she did. Also she should check that they have your correct phone details"

This would save a very uncomfortable long silence. Surely time is valuable to all parties and should not be wasted.

I have worked for Bupa as a Manager, training Home Managers, administrators, nurses and carers.

I would give a grade 1 to one of the above if they managed to ask all the right questions and a grade 4 if they didn't manage to ask any of the right questions.

So this secretary is a grade 4 and would need training to reach a grade 1.

I hope you find my feed back valuable.

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Response from Tasha Gardner, Communications Manager, Marketing and Communications, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear kingkat

I am really sorry about the frustration you have faced in arranging a follow up appointment and would like to look into this further as this is certainly not the experience we want our patients to have. If you would like to get in touch with me at tasha.gardner@sash.nhs.uk and give me some more details I can pass your comments on to the relevant teams.

kind regards


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