"Guy's Haematology: ranging from average to excellent"

About: Guy's Hospital / Clinical haematology

(as the patient),

Following a string of disappointing experiences with several NHS hospitals recently, I was prepared for the worst.

No information had been sent out with the appointment letter, eg whether the visit was for pre assessment and/or treatment. I would suggest patients are given an indication of how much time they will need to set aside for visit so that they can rearrange their work schedules accordingly

My GP is aware of issues I experience with blood being taken yet had failed to communicate this (and plenty more besides) to this dept.

On arrival, a seemingly surly receptionist asked for personal data within earshot of others. Dear Receptionist: your role is an important one - you are the first point of contact and your attitude sets the first impression.

She asked me to take a seat – with no further info. I realised I was sitting outside an area where blood would be collected. I immediately went back to the receptionist and said this would be an issue for me. Without asking for details she said ‘just sit’.

Before long the phlebotomist called me. I explained I could not consent to having blood taken. Without giving me a chance to explain (blood test results had already been made available; I feel lightheaded when bloods are taken and I still needed to travel to work after), she replied in what seemed to be a gruff, irritated tone “This is haematology – we do blood!" I felt this was an inappropriate way to speak to me as a patient.

The receptionist then appeared on the scene and told me to take a seat again. The two then seemed to discuss me as if I wasn’t there and made what I thought were disparaging remarks about my refusal to consent without actually knowing any facts about my personal circumstances.

Ironically, there were leaflets in the stand about the hospital’s consent policy. I was ready to leave there and then, but wanted the opportunity to explain the issues to an appropriately qualified professional which those 2 did not seem to be.

After an endless wait, I saw a doctor who turned out to be one of the better ones I have encountered for a long time. She understood the issues and was better informed once I provided her with information my GP had failed to communicate. I was allowed as much time as I needed, I was not made to feel rushed. She was not at all threatened or defensive – which many are when confronted with a knowledgeable, empowered patient. She was really pleasant and open to discussion. I was immediately glad I had not walked out based on my encounter with the 2 other staff members.

I was able to proceed to the treatment room (albeit after a long wait).

Upon entering the treatment room, the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. Music is a great idea. The chairs are very comfortable, just what you need for several hours of sitting.

My nurse was excellent, very pleasant, organised and professional – willing to answer all my questions. Although she was attentive, at times it was difficult to get anyone’s attention when you needed assistance during treatment. There were times when it seemed all the nurses were in the office, with no one walking the floor.

It would be helpful if patients were told the visit would be for treatment (as opposed to pre assessment) so that they can bring a book and food. I am a coeliac, so could eat none of the sandwiches that were offered. In a hospital of all places, I would expect coeliac-awareness. We need to eat too.

I noticed that all the nurses had the same pleasant demeanour and had an excellent way of interacting with every patient. I was struck by the light mood and upbeat atmosphere - even the patients themselves. It goes to show that friendliness and professionalism rub off and have a knock-on effect.

In short: it started badly but got much better. Overall a positive experience.

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

Updates, changes and questions related to this story