"Why do they bother with appointment times?"

About: Charing Cross Hospital

I had a 10am appointment in the out patients department at Charing Cross Hospital. I arrived at 9.45am and tried to check in on the self check in machines. They weren't working. So I queued at reception. I'm sure Charing Cross manages to find the most miserable unhelpful staff to sit on their reception desks. They make you feel like you are interrupting their day. So after finally checking in I go through to the waiting area, to be greeted by a nurse. They start by apologising but the Doctor I am due to see is not there, and the cover doctor hasn't arrived yet, and they don't know how long they will be! So I sit and I wait, at 11.30 the replacement doctor finally arrives. I have been chatting to the ladies next to me and discover that one of them was supposed to be going in at 10.15 so I knew I should be going in before her. Wrong! It appears that the fact I have been sitting there for over 3hours doesn't matter. The doctor seems to be picking and choosing who they see! Can't help thinking it was more to do with who moaned the loudest. I patiently waited for 3hrs but the lady who had the 10.15 appointment going in first, and then 2 other names being called, I decided I would ask, when I might get seen. The nurse greeted me with I'm really sorry but it's so busy...yes I know I've been watching for the last 3hrs! Apparently the doc was seeing emergencies first....uh it's out patients and we all had appointments so how can anyone be an emergency? I was told they didn't know how long until I would be seen. 3hours 20minutes after my appointment time, I was called in. The doctor then spent 5mins telling me why my appointment was delayed. They then gave me my results, and I asked them a question...at this point the phone rang and they answered! I totally understand that there are times when doctors are sick or off on an emergency, but I think staff in a caring profession should remember that we have lives too, and maybe people would get less cross. If they took the time to keep patients informed about what is happening. As for the doctor answering the phone, that's just down right rude, and they didn't even apologise. Then to top it off, the nurses comment about my 3.5hr wait being worthwhile because I had good news, was just too much. Having test results is hard enough, having test results after having a previous Cancer diagnosis is tougher still. So maybe the Charing Cross staff should think about that before making a joke out of things. I've had a few bad experiences at this hospital, but this time it was just ridiculous.

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Response from Charing Cross Hospital

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is very concerned to read your comments and we sincerely apologise for the very poor experience you have reported in out patients. You have raised significant issues and it would be important to know which clinic you attended, to investigate what happened that day and understand who was involved. To facilitate this we hope you will contact our PALS Team pals@imperial.nhs.uk so we can take the details.

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