"Ridiculous pre-paid parking charges / Bureaucracy"
About: Birmingham Children's Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics Birmingham Children's Hospital Trauma and orthopaedics B4 6NH Torbay Hospital / Accident and emergency Torbay Hospital Accident and emergency Torquay TQ2 7AA
Posted by v_tricky (as ),
My son broke his clavicle on holiday in Devon, and after being seen in Torbay A&E, we were advised to visit the Fracture Clinic of BCH some 3/4 days later.
On the way back, we rang BCH who after hearing our query, transferred us to the Fracture Clinic, who after hearing our query then transferred us to the 'call centre' - surely this could have been done either by routing calls directly to the call centre first?
Once we'd actually got through to the call centre, who then heard our query, they then said that despite having a copy of Torbay A&E notes, and the X-Ray on disc, we couldn't 'self refer' and would have to go and take up our GP's time asking him to ring on our behalf to make an appointment. Computer says 'No'.
Naturally, we then went to our GP who then called the hospital on our behalf, and was told that we just had to drop in anyway, and no appointment was made!
This just seemed like a completely pointless exercise & a total waste of at least two hospital receptionist's time, my GP's valuable time and to us it seems like a classic example of inefficiency.
When we got to the hospital, we parked the car in BCH's off-site parking area. No signs to advise you the quickest pedestrian route to the hospital, and oh my goodness - what ridiculous charges! I could park at Snow Hill Station half a mile away, in the Council's lovely well maintained multi storey, with large bays and clear pedestrian route's painted, nearer to the business district, & shops (which if anything would command a premium) for half the price. This is my main gripe number 1 - parking that appears to be double the commercial rate.
Gripe 2 - Unfortunately, because we were not given an appointment, and because even if we had been given one, we accept that emergencies come up and appointments can be delayed, we had no idea how much parking to pay for - who knows - an hour? two hours? three? five?
Because it was off-site, it wasn't like we could just 'nip out' and add another hour if we were getting close.
For goodness sake, even at the QE's multi storey car park they make you pay on the way out, so you only pay for the parking you have used.
We got into the Fracture Clinic which was incredibly hot & stuffy and it was standing room only, even though we were assured it wasn't that busy - er hello?! You have patients and their families crammed in with no fresh air to breathe, inadequate seating, and no water cooler or vending machine, with no idea when they're going to be seen?
Then, the definite up side to our visit. The heat & stale air hit us as we stepped in through the door, and we were already cheesed off by the parking so not in the sunniest of moods, but the receptionist was lovely! She was professional, but friendly and affable - a real credit to the team at the Fracture Clinic/BCH as a whole.
After we were seen, and given no advice other than "See you in 3 weeks for a follow -up" (another annoyance - the A&E/GP told us that there was nothing that could be done, but that we'd still need to be on the Fracture Clinic's paper trail in order that we could get the follow up appointment. The FC could have taken the details over the phone, or the GP could have emailed them over - why waste everyone's time with this appointment in the first place?
I have experience inefficiency in the NHS before so this was no surprise, the crazy pre-pay parking charges most certainly were.
Still, another family pulled into the car park just as I was leaving (with another few paid for hours left on the ticket) so I was glad to pass my ticket on to them.