"Our identities should be protected"

About: King's Mill Hospital / Ophthalmology

(as the patient),

In the few days before Christmas I was referred by my GP to casualty for a second opinion about conjunctivitis in my eyes which was not responding to different medication. I registered at the main reception and was rather disturbed to find that my answers given to personal questions such as age, address, telephone number could be heard by all. I was even asked if ‘xxxx xxxxxxxx’ was my husband. We go to great lengths in our house to avoid identity fraud by burning anything that could reveal our identities so we feel it is important that privacy should be such that patients feel confident that other people cannot latch on to identity fraud.

This was not the only concern. Whilst waiting in the queue to register, a lady in front of me was registering with her teenage son. Once she had finished and I moved forward the two receptionists began to talk to each other about this patient. It went like this, 'She did not look old enough to have a son that age.' '

'Oh yes she is. I know her. She lives down by so and so'

I did not think this was at all professional.

The clinic was fine and helpful and I was asked to call back the next day for tests and make another appointment for two weeks when the results of tests would be available. I did this and heard nothing then at the end of December I received a letter to say I had been given an appointment for the day before I received the letter. I rang the clinic and explained the letter had arrived late and was offered an appointment for late January. I explained that the doctor had asked for two weeks and was told I could come the next day but there would be no one available to say where my notes were because they would have been returned to storage as a missed appointment. The person then told me if I rang the clinic on Monday of this week someone would speak to me and I would get seen as other clinics had available slots.

I duly rang the clinic but was told that no one would have said any such thing to me and I would have to wait for the end of Jan appointment. However, on looking through the lists a cancellation had occurred for the next day, Tuesday, which I agreed to accept. This did not happen due to travel circumstances when my pre ordered taxi did not arrive. I rang the clinic to inform them and they said the appointments were now looking like February. I explained the situation once again and was passed to a Secretary who booked me an appointment for January which I have accepted.

However, today's post brings a letter that I have an appointment for a date a week later than was agreed over the phone. So I now have to ring to confirm which date I am booked for. It does seem a waste of time when appointments made by letter cannot be sent out in time for patients to attend my point being that a follow up letter states, 'I am sorry you were unable to keep your last appointment.' This is difficult to explain to my line manager that I need further time off from work which is not down to my negligence in not keeping an appointment. When I explained this to the clinic telephonist she said, 'We don't send out the appointments.' Fine but please pass on that this sort of thing is very inconvenient and frustrating. I then asked her if I rang up each morning to see if there was a cancellation could I be booked earlier then to which she replied, 'Yes, but only if we can find your notes.

We are always being told to cancel appointments if we cannot meet them so they can be given to others and yet it all comes down to where the notes might or might not be. And I thought everything was now on computer. I don't like to whinge and I am sure the clinic staff do all the can to help people but I do feel there are things, like the above, that need to be improved.

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Response from Helen Limb, Patient and Public Involvement Manager, NHS Rushcliffe Clinical Commissioning Group

Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback and I am sorry that your experience was not a good one.

We have passed your these on to the hospital, where they take your comments very seriously. However, without further details it is difficult for them to investigate fully and take steps to act on the issues. If you would be happy to share some further information, please contact their PALS team on pals.kmh@sfh-tr.nhs.uk or call 01623 672222.

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