"Upset by insensitive remark"

About: Queen's Medical Centre / Hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery

(as the patient),

My experience with both doctors and nursing staff at the QMC was good to excellent, particularly on the Hepato-Biliary ward. That is no more than I expect.

However, it is always the 'little things' that let organisations down and in the NHS clinicians sometimes forget that they are running a service, rather a unique if not monopolistic service because for many patients there is no alternative.

I had significant surgery in a hospital which was not my local hospital and my parents, who are getting on a bit now, were naturally concerned, to the extent that my mother would phone the High Dependency ward every day for an update. Indeed, on one occasion she had the temerity to ask to speak to the consultant about my condition.

Some time later a rather snotty male consultant reported that my relative had phoned and added "I'm sure you're old enough to tell her yourself". At the time, I didn't have a mobile phone with me and I was probably still a bit addled by painkillers. Nonetheless, I was mortified by his insensitive and frankly unprofessional comment. Mums never stop worrying whatever age you are!

It may be down to staff being overworked and feeling harassed, maybe they even suffer from 'compassion fatigue', but unfortunately an unkind remark can leave an impression, and, to be honest, it's bad customer service.

In most organisations you would get a dressing down if you spoke to customers with less than the utmost courtesy, however annoying they might be.

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Response from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

We agree that such behaviour – even allowing for the pressures our staff often face - is unacceptable. One of the ways in which we will get greater consistency is by challenging colleagues when they fall short of the values and behaviours that we expect of our staff. To help us to identify the member of staff it would be helpful to get some further information from you – you can get in touch with us on 0115 9249924 ext. 67184 or email sarah.kennedy@nuh.nhs.uk.

Response from Queen's Medical Centre

This feedback was originally posted in April 2015 via the Patient Opinion website. There is presently a technical problem with the NHS Choices website. This means a back log of comments are presently being pulled from the Patient Opinion website later than usual. We have escalated our concerns to the NHS Choices team, who have assured us that their team are working to resolve the problem. We responded to this post back in April 2015. This feedback was shared with the staff involved at the time.

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