"Uplifting rheumatology"

About: Southend Hospital

I have an ongoing health problem which has caused me to make regular visits to Southend Hospital over a number of years. The department concerned is always very busy and though I cannot fault the treatment, I have always felt that it is an impersonal process, with the staff seemingly under constant pressure to move on to the next person in the queue. That’s understandable, but a little disturbing for the patient. The worst experience came last year when, having been presented with – to me – an incomprehensible medical assessment of my condition, I was asked to decide, without a recommendation from the doctor, on the next course of treatment: “It’s your decision.” So I made a stab in the dark which, happily, appears to have been the correct choice, for the disorder now appears to be under control. When an entirely different health problem developed recently, my GP referred me to the Rheumatology Department. Bearing in mind my somewhat unhappy experiences elsewhere in the hospital, it was with trepidation that I presented myself at Rheumatology on May 5. But what a contrast! I was seen by the Consultant virtually straight away. They were friendly, caring, concerned and prepared, it seemed, to spend as much time with me as necessary. After an examination and a detailed question-and-answer session, the Consultant outlined a course of treatment which they carefully explained and recommended. It will involve repeated visits to the hospital but I now approach the prospect calmly and with confidence in a happy outcome. Before retirement, I belonged to a private company health scheme. Younger and healthier, I made little use of it, but nothing I experienced privately surpassed my recent visit to the Rheumatology Department where I was treated with respect, dignity and concern by all the staff there. I look forward to my next visit.

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Response from Southend Hospital

Thank you for your detailed post relating to your appointments/treatment within Rheumatology. We appreciate your feedback and value patients taking the time to contact relating to issues such as yours that you have encountered so that we can make service improvements within the trust. I am pleased to hear that the end results, for you, are proving to be a success and wish you well for the future. I ensure i will send this feedback to the department and relevant staff. Regards, Louise McIver Patient Involvement Lead

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