"Disappointed by the wait to see the consultant"

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

At just over 31 weeks pregnant I had to have a consultant appointment as I have a small fibroid. I was kept waiting in a hot and stuffy waiting room for nearly 2 hours. I had asked the receptionist if it was a long wait, they said a bit of a wait but didn't indicate it would be over an hour or more. Being pregnant I was uncomfortable anyway, but sitting in a hot room, not wanting to walk off or go to the toilet and miss my appointment made it a lot worse. I missed getting my bloods done as the wait was so long, but if I'd been told the length of the wait I could have gone and done it whilst I waited. I only needed my bloods done as they had been messed up the first time I had them done. (as well as leaving my arm sore and bruised afterwards) The appointment itself was the consultant telling me I had a fibroid and the size it was at 20 weeks, which obviously I knew. They then requested a scan appointment for me. I wasn't sure why I needed to be there for that and was very frustrating for that to be all they did after such a long wait. They could have easily of seen I needed a scan and just booked one. My boyfriend had come as we assumed there would be a scan at this appointment, he himself was hot and disliked being in the waiting room and wanted to access the nice looking garden in the centre, but it's locked up and inaccessible. There was no obvious facilities to get food or drink other than water, though I'm told there will be in the future. I think the wait could be kept a lot more pleasant if the room was cooler or at least some fans for patients that need it (I know there are elderly people waiting in the same space who probably need it warmer) I think if the receptionist informs you of the expected waiting time that would make me feel more prepared. I'd have liked to have a walk around the garden, get my bloods done and maybe get a drink in that time. There was barely any reading material provided. Also when the staff called the patient names you could barely hear them at times from all the noise going on. Maybe tickets and numbers might be an idea. The staff seemed overworked and moody, and just seemed to be a lot of confusion with what was going on, not just with me but with other patients. Also the signs around the hospital were very confusing- my appointment was booked on the old 7th floor and I struggled to find the right area as there was no signs to say maternity. I guess whenever a new building opens it will have teething problems, but it would make a much nicer patient experience if the waiting room was nicer and we knew how long to expect to wait. For any other pregnant ladies next time I'm going I'm taking a good book, a hand fan, some water and some snacks oh and take plenty of change for the parking as one woman didn't have enough.

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Response from Queen Elizabeth I I Hospital

Thanks for getting in touch - it really seems here that the biggest problem was lack of communication, which we really need to follow up. Whilst we can feed back to our maternity colleagues, we know that they would welcome talking with you - if nothing else, to apologise for what happened. With the hospital only open a few weeks, there will always be a period of adjustment - but getting basic communication right has to be a priority. If you do wish to make contact, just email us at generalenquiries.enh-tr@nhs.net - we hope that you give the maternity team that chance.

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