"Appalling service."

About: Kent & Canterbury Hospital

In February 2015, I saw my GP who requested an appointment to see a named surgeon. My appointment came through for April 2015 at the William Harvey but not with the surgeon requested by my GP who had dealt with me in the past. I drove from Canterbury to Ashford for the appointment, paid for parking and due to the clinic running late, waited over an hour to see the surgeon. When I was eventually called in, the consultant surgeon greeted me with an apology and said that they didn't know why I had been sent to they or the William Harvey as they don't do the surgery I require and the surgery would be done at Canterbury anyway and the paperwork clearly stated the surgeon that the appointment needed to be made with. They said they would request that I be fast-tracked for a new appointment at Canterbury with the correct surgeon. A month later (May 2015) nothing had happened so made an appointment to see my GP who had not been informed of this issue and they were not happy and wrote a letter on my behalf and said that the hospital should now deal with the issue and arrange for a quick appointment. In June 2015, I received my new appointment with the correct surgeon at Canterbury but not until November 2015! I have now had that appointment and a decision to go ahead with the surgery was made. I have since had two letters through the post for the same pre op and operation dates but with two different surgeons both down to do both procedures. Called the number on the letter at 9am and again at 9.30am to resolve the confusion but only got the answer machine so left a message with contact details. Hadn't heard anything back by 1pm so called the PALS department who are supposed to deal with complaints etc, and they also were not answering and a message response said that they would try and get back to me by 5pm the next day. So what is the point in having a department who is supposed to be able to help you when you can't contact other departments for help and advice when you can't speak to them either? I left a very strong message for someone to get back to me immediately but they didn't. I also called the operator who offered to divert me back to the departments that I had already tried so I said that I would like to speak to a Manager and they put me through to their number which just rang and rang until eventually someone cut me off without even answering. At 1:49pm I eventually received a call from the original number that I had called (presume it was due to the irate messages I had left with the departments and operator) and eventually resolved the matter by cancelling my appointments as the surgeon I was due to see was going to be unavailable so hence the other surgeon being named but I should have only received one letter for one surgeon. Not the first time this has happened to me but I don' have enough time to go through that story as well. Surgeons and nursing staff are fantastic but obviously some of the clerical staff and their systems and procedures are not.

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Response from Sally Smith, Chief Nurse and Director Of Quality, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the trouble to post your feedback. I am so sorry to hear of the poor experience you have had with all the delays and confusion. I will make sure the teams involved look at their systems and processes because it sounds like we need to make improvements. Please accept my apologies for these difficulties.


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