"Orthopaedic outpatients"

About: King's College Hospital (Denmark Hill)

I have attended several times over the past 4 months. It is a very busy clinic with insufficient seating for the number of patients and carers/family members. By definition this clinic means that there will be a lot of patients with mobility problems - in casts using wheelchairs and crutches who therefore are unable to attend without assistance. The entrance can get backed up with a lack of clarity regarding whether to queue at the desk or the trolley where there is usually a nurse or HCA. The 2 queues also lead to an obstructed corridor quite often. My experience as a patient is very much in line with the current trend towards industrialisation of healthcare; I have been 'processed' and have mainly been seen on or close to my appointment time but I have been very dissatisfied with the quality of the interaction with the medical staff that I have seen. I have been offered minimal information or opportunity to clarify and gain more understanding of my prognosis. I have been given test results verbally by a doctor in the middle of a crowded waiting room and been given the impression that I am being 'difficult' when I have asked about further investigations, tests and referrals. When I asked to be referred to a separate but linked speciality I was told to go to my GP rather than be referred directly. As I am a nurse myself, I know that this is linked to the issue of GP Commissioning which means that every referral to a specialist has a price tag attached, so the consultant wanted the bill to go my GP rather than anywhere else. If this is the reality, this must be explained to patients rather than appearing to be reluctant and unwilling to refer. I asked 3 times before finally getting the referral done, which was with the assistance of a nurse in the department. I found that the plaster room technicians were always helpful and professional. I am so disappointed to have had a negative experience, especially at a hospital where I was once a member of the clinical staff myself.

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