"Consistently long waits in ophthalmology at King's College Hospital"

About: King's College Hospital (Denmark Hill)

(as a parent/guardian),

My son had been to Ophthalmology 3 times so far as part of a medical study he is undertaking. The first time we were there was not too bad an experience. Unfortunately, I couldn't say the same about the last 2 appointments. On his second appointment, an appointment was supposedly booked and we even received a letter from the hospital. However, when we turned up on the date, he was not booked into the system despite numerous e-mail exchange between the nurse who co-ordinate my son's study and the staff in this department. Eventually one of the staff told us to sit and wait and someone will see my son after I produced evidence of all the correspondences. However, we were not seen for over 2 hours and because of the amount of checks needed for my son, it meant our 1: 30pm appointment didn't finish until 4: 45pm. I thought it was just an one off and didn't think much about it until the following appointment with Ophthalmology.

My son had appointments with other departments and everything went smoothly which meant we actually arrived at Ophthalmology 45 minutes early for the 2pm appointment. It was relatively quiet at the time and I thought we should be seen on time. Unfortunately, as time went on, the waiting room started to fill up and next thing I knew, it was 2: 30pm and on the board someone wrote down "waiting time 1 hour 30 minutes". Lots of people started talking about how long they had waited on all of their appointments with the department and how angry they were as they had no choice but to attend Ophthalmology at King's College Hospital. At 2: 45pm I went and ask the receptionist and was informed that no one could really give an answer as to how much longer we had to wait. I asked my son and he had had enough by that point. We had to travel all the way from Bournemouth and my son had school the following day. We were both disgusted with how long people were kept waiting so we told the receptionist we were not prepare to wait any longer and walked out.

It would seem that long wait is the norm and not helped by the fact that the department did not have enough nurses nor do doctors have any sense of urgency. We were able to walk away because luckily my son had nothing wrong with him. He had to have is eyes checked as a precaution and we are in the position to be able to ask for the same checks to be performed elsewhere. However, I feel it is unacceptable how long patients have to wait on regular basis. It is such a waste of people's time. When an appointment is made, the hospital always make sure to tell people not to miss an appointment or be late. Why can't the hospital do the same for patients? If we can travel 3 hours and be early, how dare the hospital make us wait over 2 hours before seeing us? As this happens EVERY TUESDAY, someone should loot at your appointment booking system and book less patients in or demand your staff to be on time and adhere to appointment times booked for patients. In our local hospital, they always advice you to make staff aware 15 minutes after your appointment time. That is how it should be, otherwise, there was really no point of appointment booking really.

The pharmaceutical company choose King's College Hospital to be in charge of this particular study. The people involved have done a great job and even other departments are very supportive. I fear the Ophthalmology is putting the study at jeopardy as patients will quit simply because the waiting time is unacceptable.

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