"Poor, poor, poor!"

About: New Cross Hospital

I attended Outpatients with my wife who has mobility problems. Checking in was fine, efficient and courteous, notifying a 20 minutes delay.

After a while, we were moved by a staff member who wandered the corridor with us in tow, following very slowly. They seemed lost and asked another nurse where a particular room was. The latter suggested we sit in the secondary reception seating area, which turned out to be the wrong waiting area. Failure No 1. After an hour, the clinic staff said "you've been missed and the second person is now in, but you're next, sit in the next holding area, which is where we should have been placed from the start. Apparently reception had put the notes folder in the wrong department, so it appeared we weren't attending. Failure No 2. Another hour passes and the clinic appointment goes well with a prescription issued that is only available in the on-site pharmacy. A long and slow trek later finds us at Boots. I see a porter at the wheel of an ambulance cart and they cheerfully inform me if my wife needs a lift just call porters on any of the internal phones. Excellent service. Clutching her filled prescription I am despatched to arrange the lift. This is where the day turns wilfully surreal. I am questioned by the operator as to who, what, where, how and why. I failed to understand why the questioning was quite so intense but remained polite, after all they were following instructions. It became clear only clinical staff or other officials could order transport, not a free for all as the porter had told us. They suggested that Boots call and arrange a cart. I duly called the extension given; I could hear the phone ringing in Boots. The staff member seemed bemused, they'd never heard of it before. They weren't going to call anyone but found an extension for Ambulance Services. I duly called the extension given and was told it was for external services, a real Ambulance with sirens and lights. Most exciting, but not really what we were looking for! I was given another extension, I can't remember who that would take us to, I was losing the will to live. I duly called the extension given and found it dead. Failure No 3. My wife, in pain, declared she'd had enough and was walking. The first mistake is one that probably happens frequently with new staff unfamiliar with clinics. The second probably also happens frequently, though you'd hardly think filing inaccurately would have quite such an effect. The last is beyond my ken. If only clinical staff can order trolleys support staff at mobility clinics must offer such facilities at the farewell stage. If in fact, patients can request the service, the operators must be made aware of this and quit the interrogation followed by the telephone circus. Porterage Services could put some fliers in the reception seating areas to make their contribution clearer, even if it is to prompt your clinician to consider it, certainly I saw no such information. All in all, a dispiriting experience.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from New Cross Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments relating to your wife's recent patient experience at our hospital.

I am sorry for any distress that this matter has caused.

To enable me to look further into your concerns, I would be grateful if you can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) who can assist you further.

Kindest regards

Alison Dowling

Head of Patient Experience and Public Involvement

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