"I could not believe the reception staff"

About: University College Hospital

I went there with a friend who had injured her hand. The nurse was nice and comforting and efficient. The issue I had was the reception staff. I honestly could not believe what i was seeing. When we walked in there was no queue and we got checked in and asked to wait. The receptionist was rather indifferent but no drama. Then as we were approaching 9PM some more patients started arriving, who were made to wait for over 25 minutes (!) as the reception staff were changing shifts. The patients included, an elderly woman who could barely stand as she had just recently had her ankle operated on, a man who had trouble breathing and a young boy in a wheelchair falling in and out of consciousness. There were other people there too but whose three we the ones with visibly sever symptoms. The reception staff did not acknowledge any of those people while the queue was lengthening and eventually reached the entrance door, from around 8.45PM until 9.10-9,15PM. During this time the 4 reception staff members engaged in lengthy catch up chats with one another, sharing jokes, laughing away, showing each other their stuff on their mobile phones, and in one case some shopping that has just been made. I was absolutely disgusted seeing this. They were having great time socialising while people who were clearly unwell and who they were there to help and support were blatantly ignored by all four of them. All that was missing in this picture was a table with four chairs and a bottle of wine for them to enjoy! I have always been very sympathetic towards the NHS staff throughout this whole 'NHS has no money and that's why it does not perform' debate, but seeing this has changed my mind completely. This goes beyond this. This A&E is badly mismanaged and it is clear that the staff need to adjust their mindset and be taught some responsibility and compassion. And now to the UCL A&E reception staff: if your job makes you so miserable that you can't even force yourself to do it, find another! There are lots of people out there who would be more than happy to do your job and would be a lot better suited for it then all of you put together.

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Response from University College Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to feed back to us. We are glad to hear that you were happy with the treatment your friend received from the nurse at the UCH Emergency department, however we are very sorry to hear about your recent experience of the reception staff. We would be grateful if you could contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) via pals@uclh.nhs.uk or by calling 020 3447 3042 so that we can look into this.

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