"Patient waiting area"

About: St Marks Hospital

I have been a patient at St Marks since 1991 and am very grateful for all the care I have been given in those years. The professionalism and experience of the staff is outstanding, but I feel compelled to give a review as I cannot find any other method to make my comments regarding the patient waiting area which is same sex and very small. I am aware this policy has been in place for some time, the reason for my complaint is because I accompanied my son recently and the policy struck me as insensitive and not conducive to a positive experience for patients.

When we found out my son has inherited my polyposis, I knew he would be visiting St Marks twice a year as I do. His first appointment was in the paediatric ward which was not a problem. Since then he is now going to the same place as me in the adult part. Once checked in at the reception of Endoscopy, a nurse comes to sort out the necessary paperwork, take blood pressure etc. which takes place in the male patient waiting area that accommodates about 7-8 patients. I am expected to wait in the reception which has a capacity for about 30 or more people. I wanted to sit with my son until he was going for his procedure, however I was told this was not possible as this was for patients only and I had to wait in the reception waiting room. This made no sense to me, because he is just a teenager obviously on edge and why should I not be able to stay with him to offer support? I made my feelings known and eventually went to the reception waiting room. Once there I was totally left in the dark as to when he was going for the procedure, when it was completed and when he was in recovery. Having been a patient for many years, I recall you used to be able to have someone with you whilst you waited and whilst I can understand some patients wanting privacy and a same sex waiting area, for those travelling long distances with a wife/husband or child as the patient, it seems madness to separate them because they are not the same sex?

No doubt this policy was introduced after some review process, but to me it makes no sense at all and there must be a better way to give privacy to anybody who wants it.

I want to re-iterate that I think St Marks is an outstanding hospital, but I fear for a number of patients this policy is counterproductive and stressful.

Perhaps it might be worthwhile putting yourself in the position of a patient either of young age like 17-18 or even an elderly one in their 70's who is being taken by a family member of the opposite sex and wonder how you would feel if you had to sit on your own waiting for this procedure to take place?

Best regards.

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