"Ophthamology Clinic We arrived ..."

About: Queen Elizabeth I I Hospital (Welwyn Garden City)

(as a relative),

What I liked

Ophthamology Clinic

We arrived a little early, at 2.30 pm, for our appointment. When reporting to reception we were told that Mum’s file had not been ‘brought up’ yet – I assumed this was because we had arrived 15 minutes early, which was fair enough!

Mum was eventually seen by a very apologetic nurse at about 4.30 pm. The nurse was very professional in her approach and apologised for the delay, dealing with Mum’s eye test very sensitively and confidently.

Again we waited. Eventually, at about 5 pm, we saw the doctor who examined Mum’s eyes and signed her off.

Her new lens is fantastic and the treatment Mum has received all the way through the process has been FIRST CLASS.

We accept that we have to wait for the clinic as there are many other people being seen in the same afternoon.

The treatment Mum has received has always been excellent.

What could be improved

I feel I must write to you to tell you about the long wait we experienced when my mother attended the ophthalmology clinic yesterday, Monday 18th August at 2:45 pm.

We arrived a little early, at 2.30 pm, for our appointment. When reporting to reception we were told that Mum’s file had not been ‘brought up’ yet – I assumed this was because we had arrived 15 minutes early, which was fair enough!

We sat in the reception area and read our books & waited & waited & waited! After about 75 minutes I checked with the receptionist and was told that the file had just arrived and we would be seen in turn.

Again we waited. Eventually, at about 5 pm, we saw the doctor who examined Mum’s eyes and signed her off.

We accept that we have to wait for the clinic as there are many other people being seen in the same afternoon. My concern is that we had a pre-arranged appointment at 2.45 pm but the relevant file was not where it should be. After talking to other patients this often happens.

May I politely ask why you make timed appointments if the organisation of relevant paperwork is so poor? We might just as well all arrive together and be seen on a first come, first served basis (bearing in mind that transport patients would be given priority) & all files could be brought to the department at the start of the clinic.

I am really sorry to complain because, as I have stated, the treatment Mum has received has always been excellent.

Could you please seriously consider looking into this aspect of your Out Patients administration procedures as they really do let everybody down, STAFF & PATIENTS alike?

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Responses

Response from Queen Elizabeth I I Hospital

Thank you for your kind comments about the ophthalmology clinic team at the QEII, which have been passed on to our staff. We are sorry that you and your mother experienced a delay to her appointment and the frustrations that this led to as a result.

The problem you encountered was a very specific one, caused – in part at least – by the introduction of a new patient administration computer system, which coincided with changes that were being made to our health records service. During parts of July and August, our health records team did experience problems that meant a bag log built up in terms of pulling and preparing patients’ health records in advance of their appointments and ensuring that they were in the right place at the right time.

The result was that some patients experienced delays in being seen for their appointment, for which we are very sorry. Since August, however, the health records team has been working very hard to resolve the problems and improve their service. While more needs to – and will be – done, real improvements have taken place.

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