"appointment 18th April 2016"

About: The Royal Victoria Infirmary

I attended Ward 21 as an outpatient on 18th April 2016 for a first appointment for cataracts

My initial assessment was interrupted by a member of staff for no particular reason and this was followed by the nurse leaving me in the corridor to discuss the lack of HCA to escort me to another floor as if I wasn’t there. Surely this should have been discussed before we started out.

Later on, my pre- admission assessment was also interrupted by another nurse and the competency and training needs of a co-worker was discussed during the checks as if I didn’t exist.

Because I was herded back and forth between two different levels there was confusion and a lack of continuity when, after I had waited a further hour, a nurse started the initial checks all over again . Fortunately I am sufficiently compos mentis that I was able to point out that this had already been done.

I was then left for another wait to see a doctor whose name I was never given before being left to wait again to be herded back to the ward for another wait for further tests. I was never given any indication of waiting times at each and spent nearly 3 hours there in total.

I came away from the visit feeling I’m just a number to these people. Unfortunately, I have to go back to that awful place and I dread it. This was nothing like any previous experience of have had of the NHS and I wouldn’t go back if I could go somewhere else.

Note that from GP referral to treatment I will wait about 23 weeks not anywhere near the 17 published, by these waiting times both eyes will take about 8 months and I wasn’t given any choice in further appointments as it states on the website.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from The Royal Victoria Infirmary

Thank you for taking the time to post your review on NHS Choices. We are very disappointed to hear of your experience as this is certainly not the expected high standard of care that either the Ophthalmology Department or the Trust aims to provide to our patients. Please be assured that the Sister of Ward 21 has been made aware of the key issues you describe and in particular the interruptions and inappropriate conversations that you experienced, they are unacceptable and will be addressed with the staff to ensure they fully understand their responsibilities in this regard.

The department offers a ‘one stop’ service for patients attending for assessment for cataract surgery where we undertake all of the investigations, assessed by the consultant and then given a date for surgery on the day where possible. Unfortunately this does mean that you will be in the department a little longer than you would normally be but this does mean that you do not have to return on another day. However this should have been communicated to you on the day with the Nurse explaining what would happen at the appointment. I can only apologise that this did not happen. The referral to treatment waiting time is 18 weeks, which means that 90% of patients need to have their procedure within 18 weeks (in this case the removal of your cataract). Unfortunately on some occasions this is not always possible to ensure for a number of reasons. Usually the patient is offered a range of dates at the pre-assessment stage and would apologise if this was not the case in this instance.

As your review is anonymous we are unable to look into your concerns in detail however, If you would like to contact the Matron for Ophthalmology, Sue Cook on 0191 282 9192, she would be happy to discuss your concerns to better understand the issues you have raised and investigate fully. This would enable us to understand why you have been given a date beyond 18 weeks. Please be assured that Ophthalmology is currently 92% compliant with this particular target.

Once again, thank you for providing us with your feedback and please do get in touch so that we can address your concerns in full.

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