"Unhelpful receptionist"

About: Guy's Hospital

(as the patient),

Back in 2014 I was in London for work. I was also 13 weeks pregnant and had a scare. I rang 111 for help as the walk in centre near where I was had closed. I was in quite a state, but the lady on the phone calmed down, reassured me and said she was happy to get a doctor to call me, but understanding that I would rather see someone directed me to the Urgent Care centre at Guys hospital.

When I got there, with my suitcase and clearly not local, the receptionist on duty couldn't have been more unhelpful in my opinion. The receptionist curtly told me that I had come to the wrong place, and that 111 was always sending people to them when they shouldn't. They also said that I needed to be at St Thomas early pregnancy unit, but that I wouldn't get there in time. When I said I had been sent here I was told something along the lines of 'we're talking about the life of your child here'. As if I didn't know that, but make no offer for me to see someone or tell me where I should go.

Unsurprisingly I burst into tears. At that they receptionist disappeared and it fell to one of the other patients to comfort me and sit me down. It transpired that they had gone to get a nurse who was incredibly helpful, but at the time I felt scared, alone and abandoned.

I did think about complaining at the time, but it transpired I had had a miscarriage which took three months to sort out, so I had other things on my mind and I wasn't sure how to go about it

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Response from Beth Wilcox, Complaints Manager, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Zanadoo, I am sorry to hear that you had a distressing experience in our Urgent Care Centre (UCC) in 2014.

Given the length of time that has passed, I think it unlikely that we would be able to fairly and effectively investigate your concerns about the individual receptionist through the NHS complaints process (it may be difficult to identify the individual involved and they may not have any recollection of the event).

However, I will make sure that the management team for the UCC are made aware of your comments so that they can use them to remind reception staff of our expectations regarding greeting and responding to patients.

If you would like to speak to someone and provide more detail as to the date of this event, I would be happy to talk to you. You can contact the complaints team on 020 7188 3514.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful