"Ophthalmology OP appointment"

About: Salisbury District Hospital

My wife and I recently attended the ophthalmolgy out-patient department for an annual review of my wife's chronic and stable eye condition.

We arrived at appointment time and were asked to take a seat. After 10 minutes we were asked to come into a clinic room for my wife's sight to be tested. We were then asked to wait outside to have her field of vision tested. We waited about 5 minutes and the sister came out and offered us a quicker test in the examination room in a distant part of the department (the old part). We waited there while a care assistant took two cups of beverage into the examination room and then after about 10 minutes my wife was invited in. I was declined entrance as "there was no room", (but room enough for a care assistant to drink her beverage.)

After the fields of vision test was completed we were taken back to the main area where we were invited to take a seat and await a call from the doctor. We waited about 25 minutes until we were called in. The doctor checked my wife's medication and other details and then used a slit lamp to check her eyes and ocular pressure.

Overall we spent nearly one and a half hours in the department. At no time were the staff other than kind and helpful but the system seems cumbersome and complicated with 3 different people doing 3 different examinations. The system involves unnecessary waiting and shows little respect for patients' time.

There must be a better way to review patients with chronic but stable eye conditions without the need for such a complicated (and expensive?) system. Incidentaly we met another patient who had had a short-lived infection over 3 years ago and was still attending annually and bearing this tedious process. He opined that he felt the continuation of follow-up unnecessary but didn't want to upset anyone. Quite, the problem we all worry about.

In contrast my wife had been called the previous week to the opticians for her annual check-up. We waited about 5 minutes and went into one room where the optician tested her eye sight accurately with interchanges of lenses to acheive the optimum result. She then viewed her retina with a standard ophthalmoscope. She measured the ocular pressure with a small hand-held machine, taking 30 secs to record both eyes. She had a slit lamp and field of vision machine available in the same room should she need to use it. The whole process took 20 minutes. Very comfortable.

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Response from Salisbury District Hospital

Thank you for getting in touch; we value feedback such as this is as it allows us to look at what we do from a different perspective. We have passed on your comments to the directorate management team who are keen to see how improvements can be made. Perhaps you could contact us at customercare@salisbury.nhs.uk or 0800 374208? It would be helpful to be able to talk to you about the appointments.

Thank you

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