"Outpatient Clinic for Urology Service"

About: Corbett Hospital

On both visits to an Outpatient Clinic I have arrived 10 minutes early for my appointment. On the first occasion the Clinic was running about 100 minutes late and due to the small waiting room being full I was forced to stand out in the adjoining corridor for all of the waiting time. When I finally saw the Consultant, this being my first consultation, I had been in his room for a few minutes, when his Smart phone rang. As this was placed on his desk next to his computer keyboard, I was able to see the screen, and the picture of a very pretty lady came up. Ignoring me completely, the Consultant picked up his phone, took the call and talked in his native language. I felt very uncomfortable and a little annoyed that the Consultant did not have the good manners to excuse himself before taking the call, or indeed after finishing his call. I am sure that if I had received a telephone call on my mobile telephone and had answered it, I would have been swiftly shown the door, and quite rightly too. The Clinic was again running over 90 minutes late on my second visit, this time an extra waiting room was opened up to accommodate the crowd of patients. Patients I spoke to who had been attending the clinic for some years said they had never known it to run on time and by 10 am the clinic was already running over an hour late! Also chatting to other patients there were at least two of us booked in for the same time, although the consultant's secretary denied that patients were double booked. My second consultation did not go well, I felt that I was being "talked at" and my confidence and trust in the Consultant was completely gone. Also when I telephoned the Consultant's secretary to change an appointment I was questioned as to why I wanted to change it and was given the impression that "how dare I ask to change the time when they had been so good as to give me an appointment" . It is hard to believe but the Secretary's tone really did convey that attitude, and even when I tried to explain that my reason for changing appointment times was because I am a full time carer, the response was not conveying the understanding and consideration which one expects from an employee of the NHS. I feel very despondent about this and will now have to look for care somewhere else, where I feel that I can actually talk to the Consultant and have a proper discussion.

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Response from Corbett Hospital

Thank you for your feedback about your appointments in the urology clinic at Corbett Outpatient Centre. We aim to offer the highest standards of care and so it is disappointing to read that we did not achieve this during both of your outpatient appointments. We are so sorry the consultant’s secretary made you feel despondent by treating you with such a lack of consideration and understanding. There is never an excuse for rudeness and we do not expect our patients to have to tolerate such behaviour. We have passed your feedback about the secretary to the outpatient manager who will look into the issues you have raised. You have made a fair point about the taking of telephone calls during a consultation. Sometimes this is unavoidable if the call concerns the treatment of another patient. However, it is only good manners to apologise to a patient for such an interruption. We would like to apologise now on the consultant’s behalf. It is not unusual for more than one patient to have the same appointment slot when a consultant and a doctor is supporting a clinic i.e. two patients can be seen at the same time by different consultants. We do recognise your comments about the waiting room. It is a small room which supports a number of clinics. Demand for our urology services has been outstripping capacity for some time, and so it can get very busy. The corridor outside the waiting room does have a number of additional seats; however, it is not an ideal environment for patients if clinics overrun meaning demand for seating his high. We hold evening clinics at Corbett and at Russells Hall Hospital and an additional consultant has just been appointed. We hope this will help with the situation. If you would like to meet with a member of our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) to discuss your concerns further, please contact them on free phone 0800 073 0510.

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