About: Maidstone District General Hospital Maidstone District General Hospital Maidstone ME16 9QQ
My mother had a TIA while we were away on holiday. When we returned, I rang the TIA clinic to find out what had caused her TIA, what tests had been done and their results, what further tests were going to be done, and any advice for my mother on lifestyle - i.e. what to do and what to avoid. As a patient, anxious at the time, my Mum had not taken in all that was said to her, and had not been given much of the information in the first place. On my first telephone call I was informed by the consultant's secretary that he would be writing an outcome letter, and that would give me the information I was asking for. (This letter arrived 11 days after the appointment). As I had specifically requested a leaflet on TIA, the secretary said she would find one from the stroke ward and include it in the letter. On my second call, I was able to speak to the consultant himself, which was good, but I had to ask very specific questions in order to be able to get information from him, and even then he wasn't very forthcoming, and made it obvious that he didn't really have time to talk to me. I am aware that there are a lot of demands on doctors' time, but I do believe that my Mum should have been given an advisory leaflet before leaving the clinic, as well as a short written summary of the appointment. If there is not the opportunity to do the summary at the time, this should be done and forwarded to the patient within the next day or two. I also believe that a member of staff should be available to answer questions the patient or their family member may have. I feel that changes need to be made to the system regarding this situation - it is important that patients are aware of any activities they should avoid, and what they can do to help themselves - even if this is only contact information for other organisations, such as The Stroke Association. They should also understand what is happening with their treatment.