"Bring a book"

About: Royal United Hospital

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As both an outpatient myself and while supporting my mother through cancer treatment I've seen how overstretched the RUH is, It seems to be the norm rather than the exception for outpatient appointments not to run on time - of our last six outptatient visits during 2013 (Breast Clinic, Neurology, Oncology), one has been on time (fitting with the breast care nurse for breast prosthesis) and the others have involved waits of half an hour to two and a half hours past our appointment times. No effort seems to be made to keep patients updated on how far behind any given clinic is running - sometimes there's a note on the whiteboards apologising for the delay and mentioning how busy the clinics are. This shouldn't be the patient's problem and lack of capacity should be addressed rather than allowed to become the norm, as seems to be the case with the Breast Unit. The staff and practitioners involved with treatment of breast cancer are almost uniformly excellent in their professionalism but there clearly are not enough of them to cope with demand on their services, nor to allow them to tailor care to the individual, With regards to the Neurology department, my GP strongly advised me to choose Frenchay in Bristol because outpatient care at the RUH Neurology department can be 0 in their words - patchy and unhelpful. I wish that I had been well enough to choose Frechay. The consultant took a perfunctory medical history, didn't allow me to finish explaining my answers to her questions, and clearly wanted me out of the door as quickly as possible. No great surprise, since I'd been speaking with three people waiting behind me in the waiting room for their overdue appointment. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she literally didn't have time for me because her clinic was running so far behind. If that's not the case then the care I received from her was shockingly poor. If there isn't time to listen to what the patient's problem is, rather than filling in the blanks with assumptions and bulldozing on to the next question, something is badly wrong at the Neurology department.

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