"Waiting for blood test results"

About: Ayrshire Central Hospital NHS Ayrshire & Arran

(as the patient),

I had an appointment at Irvine Central at the end of Feb. The appointment was fine. The doctor very pleasant. During the appointment I had a number of blood tests done and was advised that the results would be sent to my GP and I should make an appointment for 2 weeks time with him. I went to see my GP just over 2 weeks later once he had received the letter from the hospital doctor. He logged onto the computer system to check my blood test results. All my results were back except for the one my GP particularly wanted. My GP advised me that sometimes this particular blood test can take longer to come back & that he believed the blood test was sent to Glasgow & therefore he wouldn't be able to see it on the computer system. He advised I wait around a week to 10 days & call to see if the result was back & make another appointment to see him because as advised by the letter from the hospital he may need arrange for further investigations to be done but before this can be arranged he needs the blood test result.

I have phoned my GP's surgery every week since then but no results have arrived. I had an appointment with a nurse in my GP's practise a couple of days ago & I spoke to her about the results still not being back. She thought it was strange that I have had to wait so long. She logged onto the internal system again advising that she didn't believe she would be able to see the results as she thought this type blood test was sent to Glasgow. The result wasn't showing so she phoned the appropriate department where she was advised that the result had been available since the beginning of March. She was advised that the test results had been sent to the hospital & that they couldn't give her the results. As frustrated as I am all the nurse could advise was that I called the consultants secretary to see if they could give me the result. She gave me the number to call.

I called the number several times but it just rang & rang. I called again following day & I was passed through & again the phone just rang & rang. The switchboard brought me back & advised I called at another time. I explained that I had tried calling the previous day & the same thing had happened & asked when the best time to call would be? I was then advised that the reason nobody answered was because the secretary was off sick. I was then passed to someone else who took all my details & said they couldn't get any information but it was likely that they were in the process of writing to my GP. I pointed out that the hospital had had my results since the beginning of March & was it normal that it take that long to contact my GP? The lady took my mobile number & advised she would call me back. I heard nothing.

I waited until the following afternoon and phoned back, this time I spoke with the consultants actual secretary and I explained the above story. She advised me that she had a note in relation to my query. I found her to be really quite abrupt and aggressive with me. I was nothing but pleasant and patient even though I was by this point extremely frustrated. She advised that she didn't have the results and if she did she wouldn't be giving them to me over the phone. She advised that she would get the results and send the information to my GP's surgery but when I asked how long this would take she wasn't particularly pleasant & wouldn't give me a timescale until I explained it was so I could make an appointment to see my GP and know the results were there. By the time I get to see my GP it will have been 9 weeks since I had the blood tests done & 7 weeks since the actual results have been available.

I really don't like giving negative feedback as everyone has been very kind to me. I have a great respect for the healthcare profession. However I feel so very let down by the entire process. I rarely visit my GP or any another of the NHS services unless I absolutely have to. This entire experience has been so frustrating & stressful on top of what is a already difficult time for myself.

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Responses

Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

picture of Eunice Goodwin

Dear Ca,

Oh dear me, what a catalogue of unhelpful situations you have encountered. When one thing happens, it can be followed by a string of things and that is exactly what has been happening to you.

Firstly, may I say how sorry I am that you have had so much trouble for something that should be relatively simple? It must have been distressing not knowing your test results or whether you further tests

I understand why you feel let down by us. It is when we encounter brick walls in big organisations that people understandably get so frustrated and it is to your credit that you have managed to negotiate your way through this. It is not how we hope our patients will feel about the service.

It seems like a few things here

1. The results were available after 2 weeks but not in the GP system. Results taken in the Glasgow area are not visible in an IT system to the GPs. Generally what happens is the person taking the bloods should communicate the results back to the GP and any treatment plan which the GP will then be able to discuss with you.

2. When the secretary is off sick I would hope the phone would be transferred to someone or an alternative number for you to call.

3. Why did you not get a call back from the person who promised to call you back on your mobile?

4. You should not have felt treated in a disrespectful and unpleasant manner when you were quite rightly trying to find out information that you needed

These are things we do need to tighten up to prevent this happening again

I wonder if you would like to drop me an email and let me know what service did this involve? This will help me to approach the right service and try to prevent this happening again,

Kind regards,

Eunice

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Update posted by ca (the patient)

Dear Eunice

Thank you very much for your reply. I have sent you an email with the information requested.

Kind Regards

Ca

Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

picture of Eunice Goodwin

Dear Ca,

Thank you for getting in touch with me. I have passed the information you gave me to the manager of that service and she will look into the situation to help us to establish where we could improve prevent it happening again.

On a plus note, I was really pleased your GP practice was so helpful throughout. If you would like me to pass any message to the practice, feel free to email me again with the Practice name.

I will contact the service concerned and get back to you as soon as there is something to report.

Kind regards,

Eunice

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Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

picture of Eunice Goodwin

Dear Ca,

Due to staff shortages and a problem with the answer machine which has now been addressed there was a delay in you receiving your test results. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Colin McDowall,

General Manager

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