"Delayed start, long queues and long waits for..."

About: Colchester General Hospital

What I liked

The Fracure Clinic is set in a newly built area and is modern and comfortable.

The actual treatment is good but there is much waiting around at very stages - before, during and after if you need transport home.

What could be improved

Mum had an appointment at 0905. She was one of the first there but not one of the first seen. After half an hour the waiting area had filled considerably. Is everybody given the same time for their appointments? Yes I know that waiting area is for haemotology too but still. Are many people given the same appointment times for the same speciality? Is that why it filled so quickly? Mum got seen within 40 minutes of arrival. Patients in a fracture clinic have already been through a lot so waiting is stressful - especially if you have needs like toilet frequency with a boken leg which was the case of my mum who is 72.

I think too many people were there and there was a bottle-neck of patients - which might account for the delay. But why?

After the initial appointment with the doctor she then had to wait to go into the plaster room - so another wait.

Then to the Xray Department - yet another queue - where she again has need for the toilet.

Then back to see the doctor - yet again having to wait.

All in all she had a 0905 appointment, got seen at firstly 0945 and we finished there at 1130.

It's just too stressful and drawn out in an already stressful situation.

By 1030 the francture clinic was already running over an hour behind schedule - as the written message posted on the board. Is this an every day thing?

Newly built area but same old waiting at Colchester General Hospital. If only we had a choice to go somewhere else but we haven't.

The receptionist when giving information about where to wait for transport should firstly give that information about where to wait withing being asked and then should also give the correct information (see below). How are we to know where to wait?

Anything else?

At the end of the treatment we asked for ambulance transport back to the care home for mum. We were not told where to wait so I asked where we should wait. But by the time the receptionist had already moved on to talking to the next person in the queue so I had to butt in slightly to ask. I asked if it was OK if we waited at the front entrance and she said yes so we went there.

Later at 12 noon we asked the main entrance person if he could tell us how long the ambulance would be - after all mum still had her need for frequent toileting in facilities that lacked help. And we had experienced long waits for transport from Colchester General Hospital in the past for mum. Mum could not get into a car.

The main entrance man told us that th ambulance people had been but had been told that we weren't finished treatment. This was not true. We had only arranged for transport after our treament had finished and had been waiting at the main entrance which we had been told would be OK. We then had to get "unplanned" ambulance transport - as they called it - which actually came within 5 minutes thankfully. But if we hadn't gone to the main entrance person and asked him how long the transport would be then we'd have kept waiting for transport that had been deemed attemtpted.

So all of this added to the wait further. This was yet another expericed with long waits at Colchester General Hospital. Actually this was a lesser wait than our much longer two experiences before.

Story from NHS Choices

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


Response from Colchester General Hospital

Many thanks for your comments and taking the time to submit them. We try really hard to improve our services based on the comments we receive.

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