"Terrible communication in Ultrasound department"

About: Manchester Royal Infirmary

The first time I went for an ultrasound, I was not kept informed about how long I would be waiting, and then what had happened to the photos I bought and whether they needed to run further tests or not after my appointment - we had to wait about an hour afterwards for the sonographer to reappear and tell the receptionist the answer to these questions. The reception staff booked my second appointment as I stood at the desk but didn't ask me if the dates and times were convenient for me, and refused to change them to a more convenient date when I asked them to change them. The second time I attended the ultrasound department, the reception staff told me that my appointment had been moved to the next day, but nobody had informed me in advance and they hadn't tried to contact me by phone or letter! They've had 3 weeks since the appointment was booked in which to try to contact me. I told them I was unhappy about this as my partner had taken holiday time off from work to attend with me and neither of us might be able to get time off for the new appointment at such short notice, but the staff didn't care and said they couldn't slot me in on the day despite the mess up on their part, and said that it wasn't their fault and I should blame the antenatal department (even though it's the ultrasound department who pick the appointment times and send out appointment letters!), and that I should have phoned to check that my appointment was still booked! This wasted four hours of our time, the petrol costs and car parking charges at the hospital. As an aside, both times the waiting room tables and chairs have been strewn with dirty disposable cups, food packaging, dirty tissues etc - think someone needs to clean up a bit more often or make more bins available!

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Response from Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry to learn that your experience in the Ultrasound Department at St Mary’s was not as positive as we would hope. It is important to us that comments are heard and seen as an opportunity provided to the service to make changes and improvements wherever possible.In response to your comment.

I can tell you that we are currently reviewing and changing our appointment system in both the scan department and antenatal clinic to ensure that the appointments in both departments coordinate better with each other and run more smoothly. The new changes have resulted in some appointment changes to ensure that both are on the same date which does restrict choice of date if a consultant appointment in antenatal clinic is also required. You should however have been informed of any changes to your appointments in a timely manner.

Your concerns have also been raised directly with the staff involved so that they can look into them so that others don’t experience the same issues as you did.I apologise for any inconvenience or confusion caused during your visits to St. Mary’s Ultrasound Department especially having to wait for your scan photos and for the delay in seeing the sonographer again. We will certainly look into the tidiness of the department and and we take on board your suggestion about more bins.

It is difficult to respond to all posts in a comprehensive way, often because of a lack of detailed information, therefore if you would like to discuss this with us in more detail, please feel free to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 0161 276 8686 or by e-mailing pals@cmft.nhs.uk