"Poor service"

I attended the Audiology clinic on 26 August 2014 . I arrived at 10 took a number card which was 23 and sat down only to find the old man next to me was number 6 ! According to others waiting the clinic did not open at its scheduled time and there seemed to be only one person on duty. Most of the people waiting were elderly some disabled in wheelchairs and some with carers. No one came out to explain the situation. It became clear to me by 11.30 when no one had been called in for nearly an hour that I would not be seen by 12.00 when the clinic closes for 2 hours . All the same I waited until just before the clinic closed and with about 10 minutes to go I and several others left . This was my second visit to the West Berkshire Community Hospital Audiology clinic . The first was by appointment and I was satisfied with my treatment . A few days ago I had a phone call asking me how I was getting on with my hearing aids. I was very impressed by that and when I told the young lady I had problems she recommended I just drop in to the centre any Tuesday or Wednesday. It sounded so straight forward and I drove 15 miles to attend . The reality was something quite different . Many of the elderly patients attending seemed resigned to sitting there hour after hour not knowing what time they would get away .Some even said that by previous experience this treatment was par for the course and that the only way to be sure of getting seen is to get there early which many of them did however I can't see how that would work . I wlll not be repeating the experience. I will not be recommending the department to anyone else and depending on the explanation I receive I will be taking my complaint further.

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Response from West Berkshire Community Hospital

Dear Mr Stroud,

Apologies for any inconvenience caused during your trip to the repair service. We are aware that the drop-in nature of the service can lead to waits for our patients and we are looking at ways to reduce this. It is unusual that someone was not called for that stretch of time as usually there is only a 5-20 minute gap between patients. Apologies that your wait was increased on this occasion. Please be reassured that we will always endeavour to see all those patients who have a number even if it goes past the closing hour.

In order to keep the repair service as accessible as possible we have kept it to being on a drop-in basis. By doing this we hope to avoid people missing out which has happened when services have tried booked slots in the past. It helps maximise the number of people who can access help when they need it. However, this does mean that unfortunately the service can be very busy at times and we apologise for this and thank patients for their patience. We will soon have access to an additional volunteer-led hearing aid servicing option at WBCH that patients can book into for straightforward hearing aid maintenance and re-tubes. Hopefully, this will ease the waiting time.

Apologies again for your wait. We have sent you a follow up appointment in the post and we hope to address any issues at this booked session