"Gossiping staff who obviously don't care"

About: Royal Berkshire Hospital

I had my second visit today to this department and I have to say that I am genuinely shocked. This has nothing to do with the medical care that I received but the fact that during the 35 minute wait for the first appointment of the clinic I saw a total of 7 members of non medical staff swearing, breaching confidentiality and generally just not caring about any aspect of their jobs in front of me and 1 other patient. With the majority of my family working as doctors and nurses in the NHS I am all too aware of the pressure that most trusts are currently under. But does this mean that 5 clerical and admin staff have the luxury of sitting gossiping, passing round birthday cards to sign, swearing and not informing the medical staff that I was waiting is really acceptable? They were then joined by 2 more staff delivering files who sat on the reception desk and referred to a course that was being discussed as 'profanity deleted'. Then an ambulance staff member came in asking whether there were expecting a patient (and named him in full) but one of these staff members then mentioned my name as it started with the same initial. Is this really acceptable behaviour in one of the most stretched services in the UK?

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Response from Royal Berkshire Hospital

Thank you for bringing your recent experience in the Respiratory Clinic to our attention. We acknowledge that this is a very bad reflection of our staff, the department and the hospital. As a team we are all very sorry that you had such an unprofessional response from the administrative team and as a result of your feedback, the matron for the area and the Respiratory Medicine Service Manager called a meeting with all staff involved to discuss your experience. Their behaviour was challenged and they were asked to reflect on the impact their actions had on you. They were reminded that the reception and waiting room are not appropriate areas for the majority of conversations and that they should behave in a professional manner at all times. They were all very upset and have since reviewed the way they deal with patients coming into their clinic. We hope that the next time you visit you will see a vast improvement in behaviour and professionalism. If you would like to discuss this further then please contact the Matron for Acute Medicine, Chris Baker on 0118 322 5111 pager 40296.

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