"Gynaecology Team, useless appointment staff,..."

About: Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

My elderly frail mother with dementia has been waiting for an outpatient appointment for many months. It is a major task to get her to hospital and this was arranged with her nursing home and ambulance service. The hospital then cancelled this appointment at short notice. Since then she has had three appointments at very short notice that she could not attend as the home she is residing at has a reportable outbreak of norovirus. I rang the Gynaecology department to discuss this and was told by a receptionist that my mother had been removed from the gynaecology list as she had turned down 4 appointments! even though the hospital cancelled the first one. I explained that the hospital had cancelled the first appointment and the receptionist did then refer me reluctantly to management to discuss.

I was put through to a gynaecology manager who was helpful at the time and promised to contact me and took my number. We discussed the fact that if I could be contacted by a doctor or nurse my mother may not even have to attend. The manager gave me the name of a nurse specialist that was going to contact me on Thursday or Friday to see if the appointment was necessary, if it was then this manager would contact me on either of these days to book an appointment with at least two weeks notice, to give me enough time to book transport with the ambulance service, and for me to take a day off work as I need to be with my mother due to her dementia. None of this has happened,

I have had no telephone calls from anybody over the last two days. I have rang the gynaecology department at least 20 times during Friday the 29th January but the message you get is that the phoneline ext 4232 is engaged. I eventually got through at 16:05 where I got a message on the gynaecology department answerphone that the department was open from 09:00-17:00 and if you are ringing outside of this time to ring back. It appears that the staff had put the answerphone on a lot earlier than 17:00...

In the letter I received on her behalf for her latest appointment, it points out laughingly that missed appointments lead to longer waiting times and that they may send me a free text or landline message to remind me to attend!

Getting through to the department and speaking to someone who cares enough to do this would be a good start. The department is absolutely useless and it appears from my experience that it is impossible to contact anybody that cares about patients or their experience.


The sad fact is that my 86 year old mother is still waiting for an appointment months after she should have been seen, to discover whether she has cancer or not.

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Response from Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Dear Ms Nickles

I am very sorry to learn of the problems your mother has experienced with regards to an appointment within the Gynaecology Department.

Please be assured that your comments have been shared with the service concerned.

We would really appreciate the opportunity to look into this further.

If you would like us to do so, please could you contact me at on 023 92286000 Ext. 3473 so that I can obtain further details and forwarded to the appropriate team.

Kind regards.


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