"It took far too long for my daughter to get an appointment"

About: Great Ormond Street Hospital Central London Site / Paediatrics Royal Free Hospital / Gastroenterology University College Hospital / Gastroenterology

(as a relative),

Last year my 9 year old daughter was having gastro problems. We went to see the GP in February, who thought it best to refer her to a hospital specialist. We used the choose and book system to book my daughter at UCH. We filled out all the details about my daughter, including her date of birth. We were sent an appointment for April, quite a wait, but that was to be expected, we assumed. So, we turned up at the gastro clinic of UCH, only to be told that they can’t treat children- they have facility to do paediatric gastro care. I was quite upset by this, so we saw a doctor, who was a lovely, but he was saying that he couldn’t examine my daughter, as he’s not qualified in paediatrics. They offered to refer her onto GOSH- he would write to them for us. We then wait a couple of months for a referral to come through- but when we still hadn’t heard anything we contacted our GP, who sent us through a copy of the letter from the consultant, referring our daughter over to GOSH. We then phoned them, who had never heard of her. We sent through a copy of the letter, which they didn’t receive, then my partner took another copy of the letter to GOSH, who have no record of her! Eventually we were successfully referred to the Royal Free Hospital but this process had taken months! From our first contact with the GP in February, she was eventually only seen at last in October the next year! The Royal free were great when we got there, very kind and helpful, but why did it take so long? They were great in her appointment; the consultant was really through once we were seen. They were very supportive of our choice to exclude food and monitor her diet. But we just can’t believe we had to wait so long! If this has been an urgent situation, I hate to think what would have happened to my daughter. It was so chaotic and difficult to get an appointment. After that first mistake with our GP referring to the wrong hospital, nobody followed up or checked on her progress- we had to constantly chase to get our daughter seen. It was not good enough and should be looked into.

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Response from Chris Dann, Assistant General Manager Gastrointestinal Services Division, Gastroenterology Department, UCH

I'm very sorry to read of the difficulties that you experienced trying to arrange an appointment at UCLH via the Choose and Book system.

We do run a limited Gastroenterology Paediatric service but without the specific details, it is hard to establish whether the referral was inappropriate for this hospital.

I will ensure that this issue is raised in the relevant forum and raise it with Choose and Book team.

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