"When I was eventually seen at ..."

About: Royal Free Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

When I was eventually seen at the RNTNEH by a doctor, the medical care was very good.

What could be improved

I was sent to the RNTNEH as an urgent referral by my GP as my ear was full of wax and he thought there might be an infection under it which could damage my hearing (this has happened to me before). At the RNTNEH I was told that there was no-one who could do anything about wax (interestingly I was told this by a nurse who had previously microsuctioned my ear!) and that they would make an appointment for me, but that this would be some considerable time in the future as the clinic was completely booked up. I stood my ground and saw several different people all of whom tried to tell me to wait at least three weeks to be seen. Eventually I pointed out that I had been in an Ear Hospital for several hours and yet not one person had looked at my ear to check whether sending me away for several weeks was actually a good idea (especially considering my GP had sent me there as an urgent referral). This seemed to have some effect and a nurse was found who agreed to examine me. She took one look in my ear and immediately said that I need to see a doctor. I saw a doctor almost straight away who expertly microsuctioned the wax from my ear - which took approximately 5 minutes.

Anything else?

I got the impression that far more effort was spent on trying NOT to examine or treat me than it would have taken to examine me right from the start. Also, if I hadn't had the will power and insisted on hanging around long enough I would have gone home, not been treated and who knows what would have happened? Certainly nobody at RNTNE would have known or could have predicted the outcome!

Also, I have never been to an appointment at the RNTNE where I didn't have to wait for at least an hour. I understand that the doctors are busy, but I really feel that someone could take control of the appointments system and organise it a bit better. At the moment there seem to be dozens of people all with appointments at exactly the same time - so there is no possible way that they can be seen without some of them having to wait for ages.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Royal Free Hospital

I'm sorry you weren't happy with your experience at the RNTNEH and that you have often experienced long waits for your appointments. I have forwarded your comments to the senior manager responsible for services there. Thank you for taking the time to report your experiences.

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