"Quality consultants and appointments are not rushed"

About: King's College Hospital (Denmark Hill) / Diabetic medicine

(as the patient),

The clinic here is fantastic; I happily travel a long way to get here. The administration has improved dramatically in the last year. The IT works, any delays are minimal and systems keep us up to date.

I have had diabetes for over 35 years – I come here because of the quality of the consultants, the appointments are not rushed and they genuinely are tailored to individuals; unlike most other clinics that, in my experience, operate on a box ticking regime and are not personal to patients. The approach at King’s is undoubtedly costly for the hospital, but hopefully there are benefits both to the hospital (in terms of really understanding how individuals manage their condition) as well as to the patient (the consultation resulting in specific ideas for dealing with aspects of control that are of concern). And the better control that is achieved the less likelihood of emergency admission and hence the avoidance of the associated costs.

Between clinics nothing much happens, but I don’t necessarily feel that this is a big problem. King’s does write good letters to your GP and a copy is sent to the patient – given the consultation can be wide ranging, having it in writing does help.

GPs do not always follow up – perhaps this is partly attributable to being an out of area patient where it would be unrealistic to expect the relationship between consultant and GP to be as strong as it perhaps is in the local area. It would be advantageous if patients could more easily get their Hb1AC tests done in their home towns using a walk-in service with the same technology that is used at King’s for getting the results immediately.

In terms of contact between visits, I think this depends on how things are with your diabetes at the time. When I first contacted King’s my diabetes had become pretty unstable and I was amazed that my consultant was happy to support me by ‘phone, text and email (including out of hours), albeit the nature of the problems I had at the time did make that sort of intervention appropriate. I have contacted the specialist nurses on occasion and had recently considered trying to access one of the dieticians in this way, but didn’t, as it wasn’t long to wait until clinic and I wasn’t sure how easy this would have been by email.

Naturally, being able to use the full range of modern communication methods to interact with hospital staff would be fantastic for patients, but I think that in this area there is a long way to go before patients or staff will regard this type of communication as entirely natural. The technology is way ahead of the social and behavioural change that will be necessary in this area. The passage of time, plus procedural change and education (of both patients and staff) is going to be required to bring this about.

Living away I always ask for an appointment as late in the day as possible so it is frustrating, as tends to happen, when I then get a letter changing it to an earlier time.

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Responses

Response from Helen Rogers, Consultant Nurse for Diabetes, Kings College

Wow, that's fantastic feedback - thank you!

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