"I have been a patient at the Royal ..."

About: Royal Free Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

I have been a patient at the Royal Free for over 30 years. And have much to be grateful to the hospital staff for.

Recently I have found real problems with booking appointments. I am a pensioner and make use of cheap offers to spend time out of London, often this involves advanced booking. So the new regime of sending me an appointment rather than letting me book one wastes both time and money:

• You send me a letter, cost 30p

• I ring to change the appointment, cost to me (20p?), cost to the RFH?

In addition we have an amount to mis-delivered mail so I always worry that my appointment letter will not arrive and that I will fail to come for my appointment. Would it be possible for people to make their appointments, as I have done for 30 years, when they complete their outpatient visit? If this is not possible would it be possible to take email addresses to cut the cost of postage for a large proportion of your patients?

Today I visited your ENT branch to collect my new hearing aids. I am delighted with the aids but feel that the procedures that have been followed again waste time and money:

• VISIT 1 my hearing was tested and I was told that I would need aids

• VISIT 2 I came to the hospital to be talked to about my hearing aids. I was not tested or measured in anyway, everything that was said could easily have been written down and given to me at VISIT 1 or VISIT 3. This appointment could have been used by someone else, waiting time cut?

• VISIT 3 a measurement was made and I was told that the plastic ‘tube’ that would exactly fit my ear was the most popular size and they had run out. Another size was substituted.

Possibly a look at these procedures would result in time and cost saving for the RFH and time saving for patients?

I would like to note that my husband has recently been an in-patient at the RFH, he received wonderful care, thank you.

What could be improved

Letting me book my own appointments rather than being sent an appointment that I have to change.

Sensible, time saving procedures at the ENT to minimise visits.

Anything else?

In many of the RFH departments I feel that I am treated as a sensible individual in audiology I feel a bit patronised.

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Response from Royal Free Hospital

Thank you for your thoughtful comments about the care provided at the Royal Free. We are sorry to hear about the difficulties you have had booking appointments and that you have at times felt patronised by staff. We have passed the comments to the relevant departments, but you might like to discuss this with our patient advice and liaison service (PALS) in one of the ways listed below: Telephone: 020 7472 6446/6447; (020 7472 6445 - 24 hour answer phone) Fax : 020 7472 6463 Minicom : 020 7472 6593 Email:pals@royalfree.nhs.uk Opening times: Monday to Friday 9am - 4.30pm, except Wednesdays 10am - 4.30pm.

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