"I attended the Urology Department ..."

About: Southend Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

I attended the Urology Department for the Haematuria One-Stop Shop. I was very impressed by the way my visit was planned and excuted to meet my needs and expectations. I encountered about eight different staff members, and was 'handed on' with great effeciency and courtesy by each and every one. It was a truly 'seamless' experience, and no detail of my needs was overlooked, including some details that were anticipated because I had overlooked them myself. I wasn't looking forward to it, but there was a light touch throughout, both physically and metaphorically. I was told that the whole process would take up to three hours and it was completed within that period. There was a bit of waiting involved, but much less than at an airport, and staff did what they could to mitigate that. I was suprised rather that I received so many apologies for "keeping me waiting", but I think that says more about public impatience than anything to do with staff.

Staff communicated very clearly, and with expertise (I am a retired nurse with urology experience so I know a bit about what to expect). It seems evident that a lot of thought has been given to communication from the patient's point of view. Nothing was hurried, nothing was communicated ' on the move', I was invited to sit, invited to ask questions, even in the mini-theatre after the cystoscopy. Staff used an 'adult' approach and I appreciated not being patronised as an older man (I am 71). No-one called me "Young man" as has occasionally happened in hospital recently (not Southend).

I congratulate all the staff of the Urology Department on a first-class clinical service, with top-rate facilities, especially as the hospital is on a cramped site and has to use temporary structures if it is to innovate.

My GP spoke well of the urology service, and liaison with the GP practice and the hospital seems to have been very efficient and complete.

What could be improved

The floor of the Portacabin was disconcertingly bouncy in the reception area. I sometimes think that more attentiion could be given to how notices and signage are displayed, as pieces of A4 paper stick on walls gives a "bitty" and unattractive first impression. Perhaps a cull is called for occasionally?

The main reception hall in the tower block is an extremely disspiriting place, reminds me of the entrance to a Soviet-era public building I visited, with a queue of people waiting at frosted glass windows to speak to outpatient clerks, blocking the passage of infirm or disorientated others.

It seemed to me that a lot of staff were hanging around the information desk talking to/distracting the two women stationed there, as if they were taking a conversation break. In a place where members of the public are sitting waiting with nothing to do but observe their surroundings with a jaundiced eye, maybe staff could be reminded that even their innocent respite periods might be better passed away from critical scrutiny? It may not be 'idle chatter'. but it looks like it to a passive observer.

Anything else?

I noticed some "Wall of Fame" montage in the main corridor as I walked through, with photographs of staff. It occured to me that the ethnic diversity of staff was not adequately represented there. Most of the personnel in the photographs were caucasians, there was one black face and a few people who looked Asian.

Is the use of such publicity material considered from a diversity/equality perspective?

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Response from Southend Hospital

Many thanks for your kind comments which have been forwarded to the appropriate staff in the Urology Unit.

The Head of Patient Experience would like to discuss the other issues raised and can be contact via the Patient Advice and Liaison service on 01702 385333.

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