"Not impressed with visit to new Queen Elizabeth hospital Birmingham"

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Birmingham)

(as the patient),

I attended the QE Birmingham in early November to obtain my skin biopsy results. I'd had the biopsy some 6 weeks previous and my experience then was excellent and I was impressed with the care and service I'd received and was seen dead on time.

This time, however, my experience was not so good. First of all, I checked in via the automatic check-in facility. I must say I've been impressed with this each time. I was then directed to the waiting area for dermatology and was finally called in to see a doctor half an hour late. I'd not seen this doctor previously (in fact its been a different one on every occasion!) and when I sat down, the doctor asked me what they could do for me. I thought this was a strange thing to say as they should have known what I was there for i.e. my results.

I explained that I'd had a biopsy 6 weeks previously and was there to find out what the skin problem was. The doctor searched for my results on screen and finally announced that they weren't yet back. My initial reactions were to ask why they were taking so long and why I'd still been asked to attend if my results weren't yet back. I also said that I'd been waiting six weeks and was obviously worried and needed a result.

The doctor said that another patient had had the same problem earlier that day and had been asked to reattend in another 4 weeks. I wasn't happy with this and said that I'd had to take time off work to attend and was not impressed that I'd be waiting another 4 weeks for something that was concerning me. I felt that waiting 10 weeks for a result was not satisfactory.

It was only at this point that the doctor seemed to think it would be a good idea to get someone to go down to the lab to collect my results. If I'd not said anything I'd have had to leave and wait at least another 4 weeks and attend again, which is all extra time/expense to me.

Finally, after another half an hour wait, my results arrived!

The doctor advised me what the problem was and prescribed some ointment and also said that I'd need to advise my doctor as the hospital don't send results to the GP. Seeing as its a brand new, state of the art hospital, I felt it was odd that this seemed to be a step backwards as results have always been sent automatically to the GP previously.

I made an apppointment with my GP but then, lo and behold, a week later my GP's surgery rang me to say that there was a prescription awaiting my collection! So the results must have been sent on.

Overall I felt the care/service was poor. In my opinion, the doctor didn't seem to know what they were doing and didn't seem bothered that I'd have to wait a further period of time for something that was worrying me. It did not instill confidence in me. It was only when I 'made a noise' that anything got done.

I was then advised I needed a blood test as well but that couldn't be done whilst I was there and couldn't be done at my GP's surgery, which would be far more convenient for me. I've therefore got to revisit the QE yet again two weeks later.

I'm sure that if a public listed company treated their clients like that they'd soon lose customers.

I completely lost faith in the doctor and even started to doubt the results of the biopsy due to the poor service I received.

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Response from University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on your experience at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (part of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust). We welcome all feedback and would like to assure you that all comments are taken seriously and acted upon as part of our ongoing commitment to improving patient experience.

We are sorry that you found the service you received from Dermatology Department unsatisfactory.

Following biopsies, patients are reviewed either in clinic or by telephone with the results. We apologise for the results not being available on your return visit to the department. This has been raised with our laboratory team.

Following an appointment in our Dermatology Clinic, letters are routinely sent to the patient’s GP. We apologise that the doctor did not seem aware of this and for the fact that you are unhappy with the treatment you received.

We will take your comments forward and endeavour to improve our service with these in mind.

If you would like us to look into this in greater detail then please contact us with your details and we would be happy to investigate further. Please contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service who will be pleased to assist you. You can contact them by phone 0121 371 3280, by email PALS@uhb.nhs.uk, via the hospital website http://www.uhb.nhs.uk/pals-contact.htm or in person by dropping in between 10am-4pm (Mon-Fri) to the PALS office located to the left of the Information Desk inside the Main Entrance.