"Communication skills"

About: Worthing Hospital

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I attended a neurology 'out patient ' appointment today at Worthing Hospital. I had not met the consultant before and feel compelled to comment on her appalling communication skills. I appreciate working with patients can be very challenging and time constraints are significant but there really can be no excuse for the lack for politeness, empathy and caring exhibited by this woman. Her consultant status comes not only with a high level of responsibility, but also a privileged remuneration and expectation of professional communication skills, of which she will have received appropriate training. I was spoken to as if I were rather stupid in a brusque uncaring manner - questions issued in the form of a stucco interrogation, examination undertaken almost roughly. Having worked as a health care professional myself for twenty years I was truly shocked that this general unkind, almost ignorant way of interacting with patients still exists. Surely this clinician has chosen to work in this speciality in the full knowledge that her everyday working life will involve interacting with other human beings who are feeling anxious and vulnerable. I question her motivations and self regard that enables her to present herself in this way and cause such potential distress to the very people she has chosen to and is paid to care for. In my own interactions with patients I would feel ashamed if I felt that I had compounded any existing distress by my cavalier unkind manner. A kind, caring manner costs nothing - after all it's what we would expect and hope would be exhibited to our own relatives and I suspect if the same treatment was meted out to any of us for example, in a shop or restaurant we would feel compelled to complain and those respective employees are paid and trained significantly less than a consultant neurologist. Recent events in the NHS should have alerted all of us working within the organisation that we should not tolerate the provision of substandard care, and this becomes all the more difficult if those at the top feel able to objectify patients in the way I have described. An 'object' has no consciousness, no ability to think or feel - but of course I am not an object, I am a fellow human being, and as such I expect to be spoken to and treated as one as indeed I would have spoken to this woman were the roles reversed. This is the safety net that will ensure none of us, despite the unique pressures of the 'job' fail the very people we are entrusted to care for. On a positive note, the health care assistant assisting at the clinic was faultless in her communication skills.

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Response from Worthing Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback, We are sorry to hear that we have not met with your expectations. The NHS Choices website is anonymous, and your details are not shared directly with the Trust. We would like the opportunity to discuss this with you further and we would encourage you to contact the Trust directly. You can do this by visiting our website www.westernsussexhospitals.nhs.uk/contacts/pals/, calling our PALS department on 01903 285032 Or emailing us at PALSWorthing@wsht.nhs.uk

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