"Reception Staff"

About: Colchester General Hospital

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I came into the A&E department today trying to seek advise on an old wrist injury that was still hurting. I live down the road to Clacton hospital but was in Colchester and went into A&E for advice. I tried explaining to a receptionist if I needed help at Colchester specifically or could I just go to Clacton hospital? She said she would like to firstly get me processed (she took my details) and if I needed x-rays we'd take it from there, I should be seen by a nurse within 30mins, I explained to her that I would pop outside and let my husband know that I shouldn't be longer then that and then I'd come back inside and wait. After telling my husband I waited for over an hour not more then a few feet away from both receptionists who were deep in discussion about something that had irritated the other and within eye shot. I watched people come and go, but when people with what seemed like less severe injuries were called through by a nurse I was wondering what happened to this estimated 30mins? They get busy, we understand, but they've over looked me before in the past. When approaching reception, I asked them about waiting over an hour and had they definitely put my paperwork through to a nurse? The receptionist responded that she hadn't processed my paperwork? Confused I asked why? She responded that she didn't know if I was going to Clacton or not, that I was going to speak to my husband and let her know? No, that wasn't what was said. Looking dumbstruck as I was trying to understand why they had seen me waiting there for over an hour, holding my wrist, and not having the common courtesy to just double check why I was sitting there (as I had no idea that I hadn't been processed) the other receptionist then butted in and became incredibly antagonistic towards me, saying that she had overheard everything I had said to her college and I hadn't given enough information to be processed (how would I know this? it's not my job to inform people, it's clearly not theirs either) I then tried to explain to the receptionist if I could just go to Clacton, She replied that she couldn't give me any idea of a time frame, when I would be seen, and what the doctor would do, which wasn't what I asked, she then started asking me questions (the same ones as earlier) which I gave her the answers to. Once again I asked If I could just go to Clacton Hospital? She replied that I could but they probably wouldn't waste their time giving me an x-ray on such an old injury, she then got cross and said 'So you are going then, because I've processed you now'. I left and burst into tears, it felt like I'd been bullied by her and the other receptionist did nothing. I've never seen such disrespectful, unprofessional behaviour in a hospital before. I'm am disgusted by their rude behaviour which sadly wasn't the first time I'd experienced it from the receptionists who work there, I didn't complain then, but I am now.

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Response from Colchester General Hospital

I was very sorry to read about your poor experience and have made my colleagues in A&E aware of it, who are very concerned. Therefore, could you please contact me (01206 742752 or mark.prentice@colchesterhospital.nhs.uk). Many thanks. Mark Prentice Head of External Relations

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