"It was very clean. Some staff ..."

About: University College Hospital Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Wing

(as the patient),

What I liked

It was very clean.

Some staff were helpful- especially in helping me to find the clinic

What could be improved

The technician doing the scan was clearly trying to be nice, but approached doing the scan very badly.

They assumed I was OK with an internal scan, and didn't even think to check out this assumption by asking me if I was OK with it. This is appallingly unskilled.

I feel that telling someone what you are going to do presents the exam as a 'fait accompli' where I had no choices. This is a fundamental lack of understanding on the part of the technician- whether we do the exam, and how we go about doing the exam, are my choices, not theirs, and my decision to make. I felt this was an attitude of profound lack of respect for me as a person, and as a patient.

Additionally, if the technician felt that it was preferable to approach the scan in the way they were trying to push me into, they did need to explain the relative advantages and disadvantages of each approach. Failing to do so left me feeling that either they didn't know, or didn't think I was worth involving in decisions about my care.

I was very disappointed by the lack of communication and consultation skills that this showed, and it has also undermined my trust in their profession. I felt that they were not sensitive to the intimate nature of the examination, as they do it frequently- I feel that staff need support to understand that what is 'normal' to them is not 'normal' to all patients.

I feel that I stopped this being a very bad experience by using Google as a source of information about the what would happen in the scan before I got there, and what they would want to do, so I was clear in my mind what I wanted and how the staff could make me feel comfortable. If they had shown skill and it was really necessary, we could have done the internal scan, but the way they went about it was very distressing.

I prepared well, and that made this an OK experience, unfortunately this was not in any way because of the staff.

I was very glad I took someone with me.

Anything else?

I was booked for a scan in November, but it did not come through until February. When the letter arrived, it arrived after the appointment because they had put the wrong address on it. PALs sorted this, but were unable to change address on the hospital system, so the letters may well still go to the wrong address.The address on the appointment letter did not match the labelling in the building, so I was glad that I gave extra time to find it. Surely both of these things are easy to rectify?

Story from NHS Choices

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from University College Hospital Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Wing

The Divisional Manager for Women's Health at UCLH has reviewed your valuable comments. Thank you for taking the time to write your feedback on NHS Choices. We regularly review this feedback and use it to help improve our services to women and their families.

While it is unclear whether this was a scan undertaken within our Gynaecology Service or Maternity Service, we will be sharing your comments with the entire staff involved in scanning and will be using it as a learning "story" to support our efforts toward a dignified experience where all women are involved in choices about their care. We have made significant improvements in this area in the last year and will continue to use comments like yours to ensure we improve even further.