"Poor attitudes of some staff"

About: Montfield Hospital / Dental care NHS Shetland

(as a staff member),

I recently had a dental appointment. I was sitting in the waiting area at Montefield dental clinic where I witnessed very poor and disappointing attitudes by some of the staff towards a member of public.

The person came into the clinic and said they were sorry to be late, and instead of being responded to with politeness I thought the response was rude and abrupt. The person was told they were 6 minutes late and that the dentist would see them.

The dentist was asked and the patient was told they were too late to be seen by the dentist and would have to wait for another appointment in a months time. I think the way this person was unfairly treated and staff attitudes were appalling.

My opinion is that the person was treated dismissively and rudely because of who they were. I have been late taking a relative to the dentist and I was not treated with that rudeness. I wonder if that's because I am not the same character as the man who was late for his appointment? On this occasion, I don't feel I witnessed a health service where staff are taught to treat individuals with equality, respect and not to discriminate anyone.

I am a staff member within NHS Shetland and I think this is why I am so shocked at what behaviours are occurring. I had to stop myself getting out of my chair and telling the staff what poor attitude they have.

I totally understand about the importance of arriving for an appointment on time as this prevents delays occurring. The person was not half an hour late but 6 minutes late and the first thing they did was apologise for being late. I feel so strongly about this issue as some people can not speak up for themselves and someone has to prevent other situations like this occurring.

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Response from Carolyn Hand, Corporate Services Manager/Complaints Officer, Chief Executive's Department, NHS Shetland

Staff employed in Dental Services are always disappointed if patients experience anything less than satisfactory service, and your description of events is something I would not wish to condone in any way. I hope that the person who experienced this poor customer service will contact me directly, or write to the Board, as I would wish to follow this up in more detail. I offer my sincere apologies to the patients who have had a less than positive experience of Dental Services.

Our staff are aware of appropriate behaviours when dealing with patients and this has been re-iterated again in view of this feedback. Staff are totally in agreement that they would never want any patient treated in this way. All NHS staff expect to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect and therefore also wish to provide this for patients utilising our services.

Dental Staff very much regret this unfortunate incident and we shall work to ensure that this occurrence is not repeated in future.

Should the patient to whom this behaviour was directed read this, I would encourage you to contact me and once again I offer my sincere apologies for the poor service you have experienced.

To the person who posted this issue on Patient Opinion, I would hope that you would contact me to provide further details. I regret that you witnessed this event and apologise for any upset this caused you.

Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.

Margaret G Jamieson

Dental Business Manager

NHS Shetland

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