"New system waiting times"

About: Horsham Hospital / General medicine

(as the patient),

For the past 3 years I have used Horsham Hospital's blood test services for routine INR tests without any problems. The appointment booking and testing service had always been efficient, friendly on time and excellent.

This year however, someone in management with a PHD in Nonsense, changed the whole operational to a 'walk in system'. RESULT: Now you walk in and WAIT and WAIT and WAIT - along with fifteen to twenty others - sharing one another's germs for anything up to an hour.

So now we all have to take an hour out of work at our cost and loss of pay for a process which previously took 5 minutes. The clinic normally runs 8: 00 to 11: 45. This morning I arrived at 11: 05 having paid for the car park - only to discover they had had to close early through a lack of volunteer provision.....All this is starting to sound like a 'Third World' service.

A friend of mine living in the 'Poor North' walks into his GP surgery - sticks his finger in a machine and gets an instant INR reading - while we in the Effluent South seem to operate an overcomplicated system that couldn't have been better devised by Civil Servants in Whitehall.

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Response from Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear James1234

I am very sorry to hear about your long wait at Horsham Hospital Phlebotomy Department.

May I reassure you that the decision to convert to a walk-in service was taken after very careful consideration based on two factors. Firstly, the number of patients wanting appointments was increasing to a level that meant most were waiting well over 2 weeks for their GP blood tests which was not acceptable. Also, Sussex Community Trust, which is responsible for Horsham Hospital wanted to move the reception staff to other duties and this was outside of my control.

Given these circumstances and that we have operated walk-in services successfully at East Surrey Hospital and Crawley Hospital for over 20 years it seemed a sensible decision to convert Horsham too.

The new walk-in service has proved to be very popular at Horsham as at Crawley and East Surrey Hospitals and has caused a significant increase in attendances and thus the long wait, which I agree is unacceptable.

I have transferred an extra member of staff from Crawley to Horsham to try and improve the situation but if this is not enough I may need to recruit more Phlebotomists which will take time. I am also talking to Horsham Hospital Management to see if it is possible to keep the service open for longer but I know they use the rooms for other services in the afternoon, which is why the Phlebotomy currently closes at 12pm.

As an INR patient, making an appointment for your regular blood test was very convenient and the loss of this facility and the volume of patients now attending has made your experience very unsatisfactory for which I sincerely apologise.

If I can negotiate longer opening times with Horsham Hospital and deploy more staff, this should reduce the waiting time to a reasonable level.

The appointment system cannot be reinstated but please be assured that I take your concerns very seriously and will be making whatever changes are necessary (within the current system) to reduce the wait time to a more reasonable level.

If you would like to discuss further my contact details are: michael.rayment@sash.nhs.uk


Mike Rayment

Pathology Services & Quality Manager

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