"Parking was easy, signposts were ..."

About: Queen Elizabeth I I Hospital (Welwyn Garden City)

(as a relative),

What I liked

Parking was easy, signposts were good and Eye Clinic was easy to find.

What could be improved

I accompanied my mother to her 1st visit after she had been told about cataracts developing in her eyes. What a production line!! The unit was overflowing with patients - god forbid an emergency necessitating quick exits - people would have NO CHANCE. First we saw a nurse who tested my mothers eyes - no consideration for her age or that she was hard of hearing (this was the same with each of the following two consultants seen). No explanation of what was happening, the procedures being taken etc - I was glad to be there to reassure my mother who was quite frightened and overwhelmed by the experience. Then we saw a consultant - VERY abrupt, rude, obviously busy but this is no excuse for such behaviour - good manners takes no time. Again no explanation of what was happening, back into the waiting area for drops to take effect. Withing timing given we saw another consultant - he should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for fast talking - it was like listening to a machine gun. Almost impossible to understand. I travelled from abroad to accompany my mother on this vist and I am relived I did - she would have had an altogether different experience otherwise. It is clear that the unit is completely over worked, that staff are too busy and that too much is being done in too little time. We came away with nothing - not even a leaflet. I am surprised and disappointed that my mother and I have come away with such a poor impression.

Anything else?

I think that's enough - don't you?

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Queen Elizabeth I I Hospital

Thank you for your comment and we're sorry for the delay in responding - we've only just been made aware of this posting having been made.

You’re right – our eye clinic is a very busy department that works out of surroundings that are no longer really fit for purpose. Which is why our partner Clinicenta is in the process of building the new ?47 million Lister Surgicentre, which is due to open from April 2011. From that point on, the vast majority of day case and short-stay surgery, as well as all ophthalmology services, will be based at this important new facility for the people of east and north Hertfordshire.

While the physical environment is an important factor in how a service is perceived, the behaviour and actions of our staff are equally important. This is why we were disappointed by the content of your message. We would like this matter to be followed up and would invite you to contact us further so that we can do this on your mother’s behalf – just drop us an e-mail at generalenquiries.enh-tr@nhs.net and we’ll take it from there.

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