"Bad start but in the end I am pleased with my..."

About: Lister Hospital

What I liked

My first visit to the Lister was in August and I have been back several times since for various appointments and tests. There were some initial issues with the hospital appointment system and admin, however, we complained at the time and these were rectified. I have been to the Lister on several occassions since August for various tests (including blood tests, MRI and an endoscopy) and to see a consultant and while I was unhappy at the start, after being seen this week I understand that while some of the delays and problems were avoidable, the consultants have been thorough and all the staff, from the consultants to nurses to receptionists I have seen in person have been incredibly kind, helpful and all seemed to work well together.

What could be improved

The appointment system can be incredibly frustrating. On a couple of occassions over the last few months referrals from my GP and surgeon have been lost adding to further delays. One example of this was the follow up to my endoscopy was arranged before I had a date for the procdure - when I asked about the procedure I was told they knew nothing about it, despite havig been sent the referal twice (and confirmation of this being recieved) and a follow up being arranged. The staff on the phone could also be reminded that people phoning about their appointments or to ask questions about a procedure are often scared and really all it would take is for the staff member to take the couple of minutes to answer their question. It is not a labour intensive task and doing so can be important for the patient. When all this started it was a scary time and was not helped by the fact that I kept recieving copies of letters from a consultant I'd never met, to a surgeon in another trust and from the consultant to my GP. While I understand that these letters are sent to patients in order to keep them informed, it made the situation far more anxious for me as they were full of terminolgy I did not understand and one disclosed that I in fact have two (believed and since confirmed benign) tumors (up till that point I thought it was one) on my liver and that it was rather large. At an already stressful time it would have been nice if someone had told me that in person.

Anything else?

All the staff I have had met in person at the Lister have been amazing. Incredibly kind and while they have obviously been busy patient care has still been excellent. Both consultants I have seen were kind, took the time to answer questions and put me at ease. All the nurses have been incredibly friendly, professional and understanding. Thank you to all staff who I have seen in person at the Lister and thanks to the East Herts trust who helped in the beginning with the problems I was having.

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Response from Lister Hospital

Thank you so much for your feedback - both on what worked well for you and where you feel we could do things better. Whilst we will make sure that your feedback about the quality of care your received is fed back to the relevant teams we do accept that our administration systems can be improved.

This is an area of our work that we keep under constant review - but the challenge we face is that annually we have around 600,000 patient contacts and the administrative processes need to support this huge workload. Which is even more reason to make improvements where we can, based on patient feedback. We will of course share your coments with our appointments team, but also wonder if you might e-mail us (generalenquiries.enh-tr@nhs.net) so that we can put you in touch with them directly - after all there's nothing like hearing it from the horse's mouth and we know that patients' own accounts are also a great training/learning tool.

Absolutely your choice, but we'd welcome being given such an opportunity for our appointments team to see things from a patient's perspective.

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