"Receptionist at Caerphilly Minors hospital, South Wales"

About: Caerphilly District Miners Hospital University Hospital Of Wales / Accident & Emergency

(as the patient),

When I burnt my hand while cooking at home, I called the NHS direct helpline. A very nice lady told me that as the burn covered such a large area and had blistered, that I needed to travel to my nearest A&E. When I arrived I was seen very quickly (especially considering this was a Friday night in Cardiff’s main hospital). The staff were brilliant, dressed the burn and gave me information on how to look after it over the next few weeks. This involved visiting my local hospital (Caerphilly Minors) every other day to have the dressings changed.

On my first visit to have the dressings changed, I arrived at the hospital early, to find the reception desk empty. I waited about a while for the receptionist to arrive, and when she did, she completely ignored me for about five minutes while she switched on her PC etc. I wasn't expecting her to assist me as soon as she arrived, but an acknowledgment would have been nice. She eventually starred at me without speaking and nodded at me to tell her my name. When I explained that I had been sent from the UHW to have my dressings changed she told me that I couldn't be seen during the morning, and I needed to attend the burns clinic during the afternoon. I explained that this wasn't possible due to work commitments, but she simply stated that I needed to attend during the afternoon.

On my way to leave, I asked a passing nurse if this was the case, she informed me that I had come at the correct time, and took me into a waiting room where I waited a few minutes before she changed my dressings.

Unfortunately every time I attended the hospital over the next few weeks the same receptionist was extremely dismissive and rude, either directly to myself, or to other patients in the reception area, sometimes being very aggressive.

The nurses and doctors that cared for me both initially at the UHW and then at the Caerphilly Minors hospital were fantastic, very efficient and friendly, but the rude and dismissive attitude of the receptionist left me feeling negatively about the whole experience.

Receptionists are the front line staff who are often the first point of contact between patients and medical staff, and I feel that it’s vital that they provide as good a service as the medical staff. By definition, when you attend a hospital as a patient, your feeling unwell or distressed, and a friendly attitude and good customer service are crucial. Are these front line staff given customer service training during induction? I definitely think the receptionist at Caerphilly Minor could benefit from some.

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