"Ophthalmology Services"

About: Royal Preston Hospital

This was my first trip to the Royal Preston Hospital; my son had a suspected detached retina and needed to have a number of tests over two days. On the first day, the consultant he saw did not introduce themself or wear a name badge so we did not know their name. When they took us to their room there was another person sat in there, whom I assumed was a medical student; the consultant didn't explain or introduce us. I must give them every credit for carrying out a very thorough examination of Ciaran's eye, but I was shocked that they did this without asking him any questions about how he had injured his eye or ask him to describe to him what the problem was - all they had to go off was a very brief referral letter from Spec Savers, which indicated that Ciaran had a suspected detached retina caused by being hit in the face with a ball. They barely conversed with any of us at all. Interestingly, when they left the room briefly, the medical student apologised and introduced themself to us - a sign that they clearly knew that this is what the consultant should have done.... At the end of the session, they asked that Ciaran come back the next day for further tests. When we arrived the next day, we saw a different consultant and they were brilliant; they introduced themself and the medical student us, they wore a name badge, they put Ciaran at ease and explained what they were doing and why - what a difference! I felt so much more confidence in the assessment and the outcome. The consultant on the first day really does need to be trained on how to liaise with their patients - I don't think they were being rude or mean, I think they just didn't (and doesn't) realise the importance of that side of his job. However, introductions and explanations really do make a difference to patients (and worried mums). I must also say that the nursing staff on both days, were brilliant; very friendly and professional - again helping to put Ciaran at ease when he had to have some uncomfortable procedures, I'd go back to the Royal Preston's Ophthalmology Department again, but would specifically ask to see the second Consultant or one of the other consultants, so as to ensure we don't meet the other one.

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Response from Rhona Hartley, Head of Patient Experience and Customer Care, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to tell us of your son's recent experience, which demonstrates the importance and benefits of good communication. I have shared your comments with the Clinical Director for the Ophthalmology Department to ask him to share your story with staff in the department to highlight the importance of appropriate communication.

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