"My mums referral to the local dermatology clinic"

About: University Hospital (Coventry) / Dermatology

(as a relative),

My mum was referred to the local dermatology clinic recently to have a suspected cancerous growth examined. She is in her early 70s and along with my dad, they have become NHS 'frequent flyers' over the last few years. Overall their experiences of the service have been very mixed.

In this case, my mum was very unimpressed with what appeared to be the casual attitude of staff and the overall lackadaisical environment of the department. Reception staff communicated poorly and the process for scheduling and prioritising patients appeared to be random.

Other staff appeared to spend significant amounts of time chatting and giggling, or wandering to and fro in a determinedly unhurried manner. This in a department and speciality that is known to be under pressure and oversubscribed.

Whilst this amounts to the perceptions of people unfamiliar with NHS ways of working, it's nevertheless important that NHS staff and management understand the impression they are giving to service users, and the conclusions they are likely to draw about the efficiency or otherwise of the the service and the entire NHS from their experience.

Perhaps more seriously, my mum spent less than ten minutes with someone discussing her condition and was put under some pressure to make a decision there and then about her treatment options. This does not sound like best practice given she had just had a cancer diagnosis effectively confirmed, and needs a biopsy before any treatment regime can be confirmed.

On the plus side, she was given some written information to take away and some indication of what the next steps will be, but overall the experience fell short of expectations.

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