"Long wait for a scan"

About: Crosshouse Hospital / Ophthalmology

(as the patient),

I fully appreciate that the eye clinics are very busy and I have spent many long hours at both Crosshouse and Ayr Hospitals over the last two years. Recently however, I was given an appointment for a check-up at 9. 20 am and expected that it would not take as long as usual as I would be one of the first patients, and so made arrangements for late morning/early afternoon (if I had the luxury of lots of free time I would not have done so, but as I am in the middle of selling my house and about to start a new job seventy miles away I had a lot of things to organise).. I arrived ten minutes early, having left plenty of time to ensure I got a parking space, and had drops put in my eyes at 9. 21. I was told I would need a scan before the doctor saw me. Due to problems with the scanner this did not happen until nearly eleven o'clock. I only knew about the problems with the scanner because I went and asked if there was a reason for the delay at ten o'clock - no-one had thought to tell me, or the other patients waiting. On returning to my seat I asked the patient sitting next to me what time her appointment was for and she told me that, although her appointment was not till 10. 15, she had come early, had already had her scan (before the machine stopped working) and was now waiting to see the doctor. I finally had my scan just before 11, had to wait to see the doctor and was then issued with a prescription for the pharmacy. I hurried all the way to the pharmacy (a not inconsiderable distance) to be greeted by a sign saying ‘average wait for prescriptions 30 minutes’. The pharmacist was very compassionate and helpful when I burst into tears (as I was so distressed by this time) and managed to supply me with my eye-drops in less than ten minutes, but the rest of my day was badly messed up and I was unable to complete some necessary tasks.

I understand that the clinics are perhaps over-subscribed and understaffed and that the doctors are under severe pressure, but the organisation of the clinics clearly leaves a lot to be desired. It was unavoidable that the scanner was not working properly, but a timely explanation of this would have reduced frustrations and allowed patients time to perhaps rearrange other commitments. Despite the problems with the scanner, a further delay took place as staff took a break. And why bother having an appointment system at all if people who turn up early are seen out of turn – this is bound to lead to excessive delays for those who turn up at the right time. Finally why has it become necessary to issue patients with prescriptions for the pharmacy when previously eye drops were simply handed to you by the doctor? It seems quite cruel to take a long walk and a further 30 minute wait onto a clinic appointment that already takes around two hours on average.

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Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

picture of Eunice Goodwin

Dear bradach,

I have read this post very carefully and you have made some very valid points which would be worth investigating. As you rightly point out, some things, like a broken scanner is unavoidable but good communication should be fundamental.

I wonder if you would like to discuss this with a member of the team? Or if you would prefer to contact me and give me some details, I could get some of the answers for you. If so, you can contact me either on eunice.goodwin@aapct.scot.nhs.uk.or 01563 826222.

In the meantime, I will flag this up to our team for their consideration and action.

Thank you for taking the time to flag this up to us.

Best wishes,


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