"Telephone Call"

About: Newquay Hospital

I contacted the drop-in/self referral physiotherapy unit yesterday.

I was absolutely discussed at the attitude of the two staff I spoke to especially the receptionist.

The reason for my call was I had just been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and my doctor asked me to contact your unit to ask the physiotherapist to be fitted for a splint.

When I called and explained this to your receptionist they just rudely and abruptly said "We are not a splint unit"

I then tried to explain that my doctor had specifically asked for me to be fitted with a splint.

They just replied again quite abruptly "We do not issue splints" by now was a little upset by their attitude.

They then asked if I would like to speak to the physiotherapist.

I was put on hold while I waited.

When the physiotherapist arrived on the phone their attitude wasn't a great deal better what was said was. "As the receptionist has already told you we are not a splint unit, and we will decide whether or not you need a splint."

After another short conversation I explained I do have another medical condition which the doctor is concerned could be making the carpal tunnel worse.

But this again fell on deaf ears and I was simple told I must attend your drop in centre.

They then said they would pass me straight back to the receptionist and said "Here they are" They were clearly side by side, but instead of speaking to the receptionist I was put on hold for about 2 minutes.

When your receptionist came on the phone they were just as rude and said "So, you want to know how the drop in centre works now do you".

I was really up by this comment and asked them not to be funny with me.

They said they didn't understand because they wasn't allowed to that.

Well I can tell you by that comment and the way it was delivered they were being extremely rude and unprofessional.

I am absolutely appalled at the service and attitude, I have decided not to never set foot inside your physiotherapist unit, because I do not want to be medically treated by a what I can only describe as unprofessional staff.

Why I wasn't told in a more friendly manner that you cannot issue splints quite honestly is beyond me.

If you cannot issue splints I do understand but please send your receptionist on a either a customer care or man management course because believe me they definitely need it.

I would like a response to this email please.

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Response from Newquay Hospital

Thank you for your comments which have been discussed with the Physiotherapy Team at Newquay Hospital.

Although none of our staff remember your case specifically, it is not uncommon for misunderstandings to arise regarding the issue of splints. The issue here seems to be that the GP has advised you to attend the Physiotherapy department to collect a splint. Some GPs may not be aware that it is not safe practice for physiotherapists to issue splints to patients without first examining them to ensure the splint is appropriate for the presenting problem and that is why an appointment is required, either via a booked appointment to which patients can self refer, or via a drop in clinic, which is also a self referral service where patients may be seen at certain times without an pre-booking an appointment.

I am very sorry you felt you received a poor service and telephone manner; whilst it is impossible to know in this instance, the delay on the telephone may have occurred because the receptionist was talking to a patient face to face, which often happens at this busy department, and I am sorry if you had to wait on hold as a result.

As a learning point from your complaint the Team Lead Physiotherapist at Newquay will contact the local GP surgeries to remind all GPs not to direct patients to the department with the expectation of simply collecting a splint; it will be made clear that an appointment will be required to allow the physiotherapist to examine the patient before issuing a splint. The Team Lead will also remind the administrative staff that patients on a telephone line may not be aware that the receptionist may be dealing with a patient face to face, and it would be desirable in this instance to explain this to callers put on hold and to thank them for waiting.

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