"No privacy, accessibility, confidentiality or compassion"

About: Virgin Care Services Limited

(as a relative),

My Mum attended Skelmersdale walk in centre last week (I have her permission to share this). Mum is a wheelchair user. On arrival she went to the low wheelchair accessible section of the desk and waited for a staff member. A receptionist then shouted to her from the other end of the desk, but due to the height difference, Mum could not actually see them. The receptionist then started shouting to Mum from where they were sitting, asking her all of her details and what was wrong with her. Mum uncomfortably tried to answer these. The receptionist then shouted that they couldn't hear Mum and told her to wheel to the other end of the desk. The receptionist then continued to ask Mum these questions from behind the desk. Mum could not see this receptionist from her seated position in her chair. Mum had to answer these questions by talking into the side of the desk instead of to the receptionist, who didn't have the decency to move to the lower part of the desk, nor did they stand up to see Mum. This member of staff didn't even have the courtesy to look over the desk when speaking to Mum. Mum was then told to wait in the waiting area.

The layout of the waiting area has no planned space for wheelchairs, so Mum had to quite literally park her wheelchair in the walkway, between people on seats. She felt extremely on show, in the way and embarrassed. She then heard her name called, but could not see where she was being called from. Her name was called 3 times but the person calling made no attempt to actually come into the waiting room, instead her name was called from a door out of view. The receptionist then shouted at Mum and told her she was being called. Mum said she didn't know where she was meant to go, and she was pointed to a door which was out of view from where she was parked. The person calling Mum then stood at a door and asked Mum what was wrong in full view and being heard by everyone else waiting. This person then took my Mum's temperature and looked at her injury, in this waiting room, again in full view of everyone. Where is the privacy and confidentiality!? They told Mum that her temperature was fine and told her to go and 'sit back down'. When Mum made a joke about already being seated, this person snarled at her and walked back through the door. Mum felt upset and humiliated by this entire interaction.

While waiting, this exact scenario happened to several people in the waiting room, with obs being taken in the waiting room in front of everyone. Everyone had their temperature taken in this communal area. Noone knew whether the hygiene cap on the ear themometer had been changed, or whether hands had been washed between patients. The person doing this public triage did not introduce themself at any point.

Once finally called, the nurse my Mum saw was was very polite. The nurse told Mum she had an infection and a very high temperature. The person earlier in the waiting room said her temperature was fine. Obviously a lack of consistency, but also, this causes a lot of doubt in staff abilites and medical training.

Overall, it was a horrible experience for Mum and we will never attend this walk in again.

Please rethink the layout of the waiting room and reception desk, to aid wheelchair users. Please train your reception staff in accessibility and disability awareness, they were extremely rude and unthoughtful. Please review policies of examining and collecting obs of patients in the waiting room in full view of strangers, this is absolutely not good enough and I am disgusted by this practice. Triaging should still be carried out in a private setting. If this is the practice for triaging, this should be shared very clearly via website and signposting within the waiting room, so that patients are aware of this in advance, and can choose to leave and not have their privacy violated.

Responses

Response from Virgin Care We are preparing to make a change

Dear Sir or Madam

We are really sorry to hear that your mother had such a poor experience of our service and would be grateful if you could pass on our sincere apologies.

We are grateful for your suggestions and would be happy to carry out an investigation into the events you describe to ensure that this experience is not repeated.

If this is something you would like to arrange, please contact our Customer Experience Team by email at customerservices@virgincare.co.uk

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