"Why the Attitude?"

About: Princess Royal University Hospital (Orpington)

My GP asked for an urgent Ultrasound appointment at this hospital. An appointment was sent to me but the day offered was the one date I could not do and could not change. I immediately rang to notify them and found the phone continually engaged . I gave up and decided to ring the next day which I started at 8.30 am and it was over half an hour before the phone was answered. Was the wait worth it, honestly no, I explained the situation and didn't expect the answer or attitude I got. Very curtly she told me they would send me another one and if I could not attend that one, then they would refer me back to my GP . I said why could we not make the appointment now over the phone, I said I could do the day after and suggested another couple of days but she refused. Asking politely why she could not be a little more cooperative with me, she then ranted about she didn't know what the rotas would be for the next five to six weeks! I have already suffered serious illness and do not need to deal with this attitude. Hence that 'rainy day' has arrived and have decided to pay for a private scan in five days time. What a difference and when I explained what I had experienced I was told by this particular private hospital that this attitude runs through the whole of the PRU!

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Response from Princess Royal University Hospital

I am very sorry to hear that the telephone conversation you had with the Ultrasound department was so unhelpful when you were simply seeking to alter an appointment date. This is not the experience that patients should have and the matter has been discussed with the Radiology Manager, responsible for the administration staff. There is a system issue with appointments because each request for a scan has to be reviewed by a Consultant to ensure its relevance and to plan the amount of time required to perform the scan and whether any particular seniority of staff is required. Once this review has been undertaken the appointments are booked. There should absolutely be flexibility and ability to alter appointment dates and times and I am sorry that a negative message was conveyed that you would be offered one further date and must attend that one or fail to be offered anything further. Even if this is actaully the department policy it needs to be conveyed with an explanation of why the policy exists and in a helpful manner and tone. This was not your experience and we must apologise for that. I am very sorry that the experience was such that you decided to arrange your scan privately.