"Eye Clinic Appointment"

About: Doncaster Royal Infirmary

Anything else?

My recent appointment to Doncaster Royal Infirmary Eye Clinic on 08/10/13 was scandalous. My appointment time 14.00hrs, I arrival time 13.50hrs, I placed my appt letter in box G due to fact on my letter attendance was for the Eye Clinic, this being the same box I had placed all my previous appt letters since attending DRI Eye Clinic from January 2009. After placing my appt letter I had stood opposite the box, standing with many other patients, due the enormous amount of patient waiting to be seen. At 14.20hrs the departments staff decided to open the box and remove the contents, the box was overflowing with appt letters/appt cards. The contents were taken to the Eye Clinic Reception Office. I was now late for my appt by 20 minutes, having been 10 minutes early. At 15.50hrs a lady a fellow patient who had been standing next to me for the whole period, I had been waiting managed to attract the attention of a staff member, and enquire how much longer would have to wait, because we had seen other patients arrive after us, be treated and leave. The staff member asked our names, then replied “I haven’t seen your appointment letters, there not in the office”. This would require the assistance of Paul Daniels. My letter went into the box, to the reception office and then disappeared. I was then informed that my appointment was for a Contact Lens appt, these appt now go to Eye Clinic 2. On my last visit Eye Clinic 2 did not exist, now there are 2 Eye Clinics, it should be stated on the appt letter which clinic the patient is to attend. The staff member gave me directions to where I should have been instructed to go, I was told to go to Eye Clinic 2 and knock on the third door, when I arrived the door was open, the lights on but nobody home. I sat in waiting area, having been standing for 2 hrs, the first door opened, and asked other patients for their names, the purpose so that she would have a record for when the complaints came in. Then the occupant of the second office enquired who we were. When I told her my name, I received verbal abuse for not attending my appt on time. Fact my appt letter was removed at 14.20hrs, department staff would have known I was in the wrong area, not one member of staff had the decency to direct me to where I should have been. Knowing for 1hr 30mins I should be elsewhere, then to be blamed for their failing not mine. The DRI Eye Clinic has no respect for patients, I suppose they expect me to go through the complaints procedure, I know from the past what an insulting fruitless mission this is. Maybe I should consider, contacting the media they have a real appetite for failing NHS stories. The DRI may find it acceptable to treat patients, in this manner, to wait 2 hours standing up; they should try it, but then add into the effects of swelling ankle and knee joints, due to the fact that some patients have long term illnesses that effect blood circulation, i.e. Pelvic Soft Tissue Sarcoma.

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Responses

Response from Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust We have made a change

Firstly, I would like to extend my sincere apologies for what was clearly not the normal high-calibre patient experience we deliver. Whilst not wishing to provide excuses, I am aware that on this specific afternoon the Eye Clinic was experiencing an exceptionally high volume of patients and was extremely busy and pressured.

From your account, it seems your appointment was within the Specialist Contact Lens clinic. For some time now, these clinics have been in Eye Clinic 2 and, as manager for the Contact Lens service, I was assured that the patient appointment letter had been amended to reflect this. Please accept my sincere apologies if that is not the case. I am looking into this further to ensure that patient letters include the correct information.

Unfortunately, due to the above-mentioned pressures, on the day you visited the appointments box (G) was not emptied as frequently as is normally the case; when emptied, the letters could not be dealt with in the usual timely fashion. This caused the delay you experienced in being directed through to Eye Clinic 2 where the contact lens clinic is now located. As a result of this, the General Manager, Eye Clinic Sister and I have agreed that that the prompt retrieval of appointment letters and their subsequent triage should be a priority, no matter how busy the clinic is. Steps have been taken to ensure this occurs and we have discussed the possibility of recruiting a volunteer to assist with this duty.

We’re also discussing with the Outpatients Matron how we can better assist patients in checking in at the Outpatients reception desk before going to their clinic area – we’re conscious that some patients currently go straight to the clinic area and post their appointment letter in the box. Checking in at Outpatients reception provides a further way of helping ensure that we know when patients have arrived. It’s not clear from your posting whether you checked in at Outpatients reception. If you did, then the reception staff should have directed you to the new Contact Lens clinic location. You should also have been booked in electronically so the Optometrist from the Contact Lens clinic should have been able to see this, then go and search for you.

Once again, I sincerely apologise for this poor patient experience and I would like to assure you that this is not the experience received by the vast majority of our patients. I also hope you can see that, because of your comments and some other problems encountered during this clinic session, it is evident that we are taking action by implementing systems that will reduce the risk of this happening again in the future.

If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me again.

Ian Dawson

Head of Orthoptics, Optometry, Contact Lens & Low Vision services

Email format: firstname.lastname@dbh.nhs.uk

Phone: 01302 366666

Response from Doncaster Royal Infirmary

Firstly, I would like to extend my sincere apologies for what was clearly not the normal high-calibre patient experience we deliver. Whilst not wishing to provide excuses, I am aware that on this specific afternoon the Eye Clinic was experiencing an exceptionally high volume of patients and was extremely busy and pressured. From your account, it seems your appointment was within the Specialist Contact Lens clinic. For some time now, these clinics have been in Eye Clinic 2 and, as manager for the Contact Lens service, I was assured that the patient appointment letter had been amended to reflect this. Please accept my sincere apologies if that is not the case. I am looking into this further to ensure that patient letters include the correct information. Unfortunately, due to the above-mentioned pressures, on the day you visited the appointments box (G) was not emptied as frequently as is normally the case; when emptied, the letters could not be dealt with in the usual timely fashion. This caused the delay you experienced in being directed through to Eye Clinic 2 where the contact lens clinic is now located. As a result of this, the General Manager, Eye Clinic Sister and I have agreed that that the prompt retrieval of appointment letters and their subsequent triage should be a priority, no matter how busy the clinic is. Steps have been taken to ensure this occurs and we have discussed the possibility of recruiting a volunteer to assist with this duty. We’re also discussing with the Outpatients Matron how we can better assist patients in checking in at the Outpatients reception desk before going to their clinic area – we’re conscious that some patients currently go straight to the clinic area and post their appointment letter in the box. Checking in at Outpatients reception provides a further way of helping ensure that we know when patients have arrived. It’s not clear from your posting whether you checked in at Outpatients reception. If you did, then the reception staff should have directed you to the new Contact Lens clinic location. You should also have been booked in electronically so the Optometrist from the Contact Lens clinic should have been able to see this, then go and search for you. Once again, I sincerely apologise for this poor patient experience and I would like to assure you that this is not the experience received by the vast majority of our patients. I also hope you can see that, because of your comments and some other problems encountered during this clinic session, it is evident that we are taking action by implementing systems that will reduce the risk of this happening again in the future. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me again. Ian Dawson Head of Orthoptics, Optometry, Contact Lens & Low Vision services Email format: firstname.lastname@dbh.nhs.uk Phone: 01302 366666

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