"unprofessional and sloppy"

About: The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

(as the patient),

went for a routine test after freshers week. I was stunned as soon as I saw the place- in huge letters right on the university route it says "Sexual Disease Centre" or similar- I walked past it a few times to make sure no one saw me. There were gangs of folk stood around the door smoking and shouting at each other so I ran in- it seems to run a methadone clinic or similar. I didn't have an appointment and after listening to staff screaming with laughter and joking at the counter (paranoid maybe but was it about me? ! ) I was seen by someone dressed like a caretaker (no uniforms? )- I think a doctor. Lots of questions seemed like they were indirectly trying to Identify me and not any nasty surprises. I was REALLY uncomfortable with the language that was used and felt it inappropriate and unprofessional. I was glad I gave fake details, this person seemed a bit sketchy.

I went back for a 'follow up chat' and they really tried to get the same questions answered- these were not questions like how many people I've slept with in freshers week etc-which I was relatively honest about.

I lied about everything else though simply because I felt a really unsettled by the whole place and how unprofessional it seemed.

My dad is a GP so I took fatherly advice "about a friend" and yeah- they can match your detail to a central 'medical record' that just about anyone can access even old addresses and phone numbers.

My advice...go for the tests as and when but lie about who you are and don't give your mobile number.

Overall: horrible place, really uncomfortable experience, and definitely not one that makes you feel safe or confident in them. I'll not be going back

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Response from The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

I am writing in response to the comments which you posted on NHS Choices website.

At New Croft Centre we understand that it is not always easy to access a sexual health service and you may feel nervous about attending. However we do value the opinions of our service users and use their comments and suggestions to make improvements to the service.

I note that you recently attended New Croft Centre and in relation to this visit you are raising concerns in respect of;

• The signage ‘Sexual Disease Centre’ on the outside of the building

• The ‘gangs of folk’ stood around the outside doors smoking and shouting

• The manner of staff ‘screaming with laughter and joking at the counter’

• The dress appearance and attitude of the doctor/nurse who you saw at the clinic

• Confidentiality of patient information and records

Having looked into the concerns you have raised I would like to offer the following explanations;

The signage on the outside of the New Croft House building displays ‘New Croft Centre, NHS’; this was erected after service users complained they could not find the city centre location of the sexual health service. Clear signage was erected to the building to rectify this problem.

Many health care teams are based at and operate from New Croft House providing health psychology, health improvement and cardiac rehabilitation community services. We do not have a drug user treatment service based at New Croft House; there is however a drug users treatment service within the vicinity of New Croft House, I will contact their service manager and pass on your comments in relation to their service users.

New Croft Centre is a community service and part of Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. We operate a no smoking policy on all of our premises, if a member(s) of the public or service user(s) was identified as being rowdy or smoking on our premises they would be requested to remove themselves from the premises.

At New Croft sexual health service we consider it vital that patients are treated with dignity and respect therefore we will look into the training needs of our staff to ensure the service provides high quality confidential and sensitive care which meets the needs of our service users. I am sorry if this was not your experience of the service.

The presentation of work and patient environments is of prime importance at all times to Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, this includes the presentation of staff in terms of their dress and appearance. Employees are expected to follow the standards of dress, appearance and uniform laid down by the organisation and all employees are supplied with a Trust identity badge that must be worn and easily visible at all times whilst they are on duty.

Confidentiality is a major priority for the New Croft’s sexual health service and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Confidentiality policy is laid down by NHS England and sets out principles which must be observed by all who work within and have access to person-identifiable information or confidential information. All staff working within New Croft sexual health services are aware of their responsibilities for safeguarding confidentiality and preserving information security.

I am very sorry that you were so dissatisfied with the service provided and that we did not meet your expectations in this regard. All in all, I would wish to express an unreserved apology for the distress and anxiety this has brought you.