"One of the Registrars I saw was ..."

About: Northwick Park Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

One of the Registrars I saw was very attentive and made me feel like I was being taken seriously

What could be improved

Cardiology outpatients

> I had to wait a LONG time at each outpatient appointment - usually over an hour for a 5 minute appointment, so I ended up booking in then going down to the canteen for a coffee.

> Inefficient: I turned up to one appointment to find they hadn't downloaded my 12lead ECG and my 24hr tape results, and they didn't have time to do it then so I had to go away and wait another 6 months for my next appointment before I would get them (which would then be a year since I was first seen and still no clue if there was even anything wrong). They also requested I have an ECHO before the next appointment and I handed over the request form to the receptionist who told me it would be about 2 weeks before my appointment, and I would get a letter about 2 weeks prior to the ECHO with the details. So, 4 weeks before my next appointment - nothing. Every time I rang them up I got not answer. I went in several times, and all I got was you'll find out 2 weeks before. No one even looked me up on the system, even when I said that I had my appointment in under 2 weeks and still hadn't had the ECHO, and there was no point in having it if I hadn't had the ECHO otherwise I'd just be waiting yet another 6 months. Then they FINALLY looked me up on the system and said there was no record of me needing one. They suggested it wasn't needed, that I must be mistaken, that I couldn't have given them the request form else it would be on the system. I told them to get my notes and look it up if they weren't going to take any notice of me. In the end, I stood in the reception and refused to leave until they sorted it out. Conveniently, the person who did the appointments wasn't there at the moment and they asked me to ring the next day. I left, but I went straight to PALS and made a fuss. Miraculously had a slot free the following week, and in time for my O/P appointment. When I went for it, I got to see the Consultant who was rude. Again, they had my results, but this time they

Anything else?

hadn't printed off the ECHO results. So they disappeared and had to go back through the system to find mine and preview it all then while I was sat waiting in the room for 20minutes. They came back and said it's fine so we'll discharge you. Just like that? So the fact I was still having symptoms was overlooked, the fact that I was told my 24hr tape was fine yet now was saying it wasn't because it showed some abnormalities but they wouldn't do anything about it - can't say I was reassured so far, particularly when presented so bluntly. I had been told initially by the Registrar that they could hear some kind of heart murmur or valve regurgitation, so I wanted to clarify this was ok, but when I asked the Consultant about this, they didn't even look at me and just snapped "well, they didn't actually say that did they" - excuse me? So I'm imagining things? I'm a nurse myself - I'm not blinded or easily confused by medical jargon, as the consultant seemed to believe. I know what I was told, and I know what I should expect, and if the doctors actually bothered to make effective notes detailing what has been discussed, these things would not happen.

So it took over 18months, a lot of hassle with staff and appointments, and worry about the condition of my heart, only to be told quite bluntly and rudely that it's all fine and they wouldn't treat the cause of my symptoms anyway. What a waste of my time. I really wish I had gone private - they were completely useless, and to this day I still remained unconvinced by their care and diagnoses, or lack thereof. Had they done their jobs properly in the first place and not made such a balls up of the whole process, I could have been seen, tested, and reassured, and in half the time.

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Response from Northwick Park Hospital

Thank you for your comments. We are very sorry to learn that your experience was not of the high standard we expect for all our patients. Your comments are important to us and we would like to discuss them with you in more detail so that we can improve the services we provide. Please contact us directly by calling 020 8869 2026. Thank you.

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