"Your Accident and Emergency number"

About: St Mary's Hospital (London)

I have no experience of the accident and emergency service in person, but twice now in over a couple of months the number listed on the internet for your accident and emergency line was wrong, according to one member of your reception / operator staff. The automated service registered things I did not say and I kept being put through to professionals when I had not even spoken .When I finally did get through I was passed from department to department, told my Mother was definately on one ward only to be put through to that ward and be told by the staff there that they had had no female admissions that day and she was not on this ward. I then was given the same number for what I thought was accident and emergency at St.Mary's to be told by your operator that that was not the right number. I was then put through to the same person who had given me wrong information and she acted annoyed that I had phoned again. Of course if I cannot locate my Mother I am going to keep trying. I was then again put through to accident and emergency where I hung on for many minutes.I understand this is a busy department, but what I did not expect was to receive no reply at all and then to be hung up on. People i.e. the public don't expect a perfect service and I completely understand that all your staff are doing challenging, busy jobs, but in terms of information, I did not recieve any today that was of actual use to me and simply gave up ringing. I was left in an agitated and emotional state as I still don't know where my Mother is and apparently neither do your staff. If you do give out information or emergency lines on internet sites these should be accurate and current telephone numbers or they are pointless, and your operating system shopuld not be so labrynthine and confusing. It should not have been so difficult for a relative to get simple, basic information about their loved ones at an already stressful and distressing time. I don't know how you can sort this out, but someone needs to address this. This is fairly basic communication with patients' relatives. It should not be so difficult to negotiate your telephone system. Please sort this out as it left me very upset and I'm sure that if it had been a more life and death situation, that would have felt much worse and even more distressing.

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Responses

Response from St Mary's Hospital

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is dissappointed to read of your experience. This is certainly poor customer service and we sincerely apologise for the distress your experienced. Your comments have been escalated to service managers in Communications, Switchboard and A & E. Communications will address the issue of telephone contact details on the website. Our Switchboard Manager can track the calls and were they were transfered to with the number you called us from and if you would like to provide this please contact our PALS service with the details pals@imperial.nhs.uk Switchboard are also reviewing the voice recognition system and call handling and looking at option of having a person to speak for help. The A & E service are currently addressing issues with relatives not being able to get through to A & E Reception and looking at a single point of access. Your comments are important to us as we seek to impove our services and we hope that this is helpful. again we apologise for the poor service .

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