"Delayed appointment with no explanation or apology"

About: Royal Sussex County Hospital

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My partner is pregnant and went into the hospital for a scan and then a routine meeting scheduled an hour later with the obstretician to check the outcome of the scan and have a blood pressure test. Despite the meeting with the obstretician being the earliest possible time slot available in the afternoon my partner had to wait over an hour to be seen. There was no explanation given for why she was kept waiting and no apology. Other women who arrived after her were seen before her. My partner had our 2 year old daughter with her and not surprisingly our daughter was getting a bit bored and restless after 2 hours stuck in a hosptal. And because the parking facilities at the hospital is so appallingly woeful my partner had parked on one of the local streets but had only put 2 hours on the ticket, so the ticket had expired. When she was eventually seen and given a blood pressure test it turned out she had quite high blood pressure (not surprising given the circumstances!). And because of this the hospital wouldn't let her leave for another 3 hours because they wanted to keep an eye on her - completely missing the irony that it is their incompetence that probably caused the high blood pressure to begin with!! So she got a parking ticket and was very distressed when I got back from work in the evening. What's really depressing about the whole episode is that I'm sure this kind of thing happens every day and is so common that people actually expect it and it becomes almost accepted. I doubt most people can even be bothered to compain, knowing how utterly futile it is. When we tried to appeal the parking ticket on the grounds that the appointment was significantly delayed we were rejected and told that we should expect medical appointments to be delayed!! Even the council, who are hardly a model of efficiency, know how inefficient the hospital are! But we shouldn't accept or expect it. I could understand if we turned up at A&E and had to wait and unpredictable amount of time but we turned up for a scheduled appointment, and the earliest one of the afternoon at that. The NHS should know how many people they can see in a given time period and work out a process for minimising waiting times. And if the appointment is delayed then as an absolute minimum we should be told that there will be a delay, why there is a delay and given an apology - these things cost nothing. I find that the human touch is seriously and sadly lacking. When you go to the reception there is rarely even eye-contact let alone a smile or greeting - again, these things cost nothing. The service is so perfunctory - patients are treated as objects. Is it really too much to expect a little humanity...?

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Response from Royal Sussex County Hospital

I am so sorry to learn of your partner's delayed appointment and the lack of communication with her about this. I appreciate the frustration and inconvenience this caused can only have added to her distress at this time. As you rightly point out, kindness, compassion and courtesy are essential aspects of patient care and I unreservedly apologise that this was not your partner's experience. I have shared your concerns with the imaging and obstetric teams for learning. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly if it would be helpful to discuss any of the issues you have raised further with best wishes Jane Carmody Head of Patient Experience, PALS and Complaints jane.carmody@bsuh.nhs.uk

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

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