"Attitude of a receptionist at Lincoln County let the team down"

About: Lincoln County Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a relative),

My husband works more than 4 hours away from where we live and this afternoon I recieved a call from his employer to say he`d had an accident and was attending Lincoln County Hospital A&E Dept.

A fantastic paramedic called me to say my husband was en route to A&E as they had some concerns about him and to call A&E in an hour. The paramedic even let me speak to my husband to put my mind at ease.

Around an hour later I called and spoke to a receptionist in A&E. I gave my husband's name and date of birth and explained the paramedic had asked me to call for an update. The receptionist replied: "He's only been here 18 minutes so what can we tell you?"

I was taken aback by this attitude, I was anxious and upset and had no idea what was happning with my husband. I explained to the receptionist that I live more than 4 hours away from the hospital and was anxious as to my husband's condition. Her reply was: "I've told you he's only been here 18 minutes." I find this attitude unacceptable and asked for the receptionist's name, which she refused to give and asked why.

I explained to her that I wanted to make a complaint to which unbelievably she sighed (I could hear it) and said "My God". I asked her to repeat what she had said and she kept putting me on hold, when she came back she kept saying the line was busy and wouldn't let me speak.

Eventually I spoke to a staff nurse, and at this point I was so upset at the treatment recieved by the receptionist, I began to cry and hung up. A few minutes later my husband called me to say he was fine and waiting to see the doctor, he told me that the nurse had asked him to call me.

I feel this nurse is amazing as I never gave her my husband's name, however she took the time to find out who he was and ask him to call me. To me every second of a clinician's time is precious and I am grateful to her.

We don't live in your area, I must say the professionalism and helpfulness of the clinical staff (Nurse and paramedic) was excellent and could certainly be recommended, however this whole experience has been marred by the arrogant attitude of a clerical member of staff.

I work in the NHS myself in a busy department as clerical staff and I understand the pressures of the job, however professionalism is key at all times and to say to a patient's relative "My God" is completly unacceptable.

I must ask you to thank your clinical staff in A&E for the care they have given my husband and for asking my husband to call me when they knew I was worried. It's just a shame I had to waste a clinican's valuable time because the receptionist couldnt be bothered to do her job.

I also hope all A&E calls are recorded so that PALS can listen to just how clerical staff for their trust speak to patients.

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Response from Jennie Negus, Deputy Director of Patient Services, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

picture of Jennie Negus

It was really hard to read your story as I could sense the distress and anxiety you had suffered and I imagine anyone reading could relate to this.

I am so sorry that you experienced such a dismissive and uncaring response from our receptionist and you are right that such an attitude is unnaceptable and is certainly not what we expect from our staff.

As my response is so late after your experience it would be very difficult to pick this up with any individuals but please be assured that we are listening. We have just introduced a system for regularly reading and responding to postings and I feel had we had this at the time you first wrote we could have addressed this more thoroughly, I am sorry for this.

Thank you again for taking the time to tell us what happened and for your positive comments about the rest of the staff.

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