"Inconsistency"

About: Western Eye Hospital

I first went to Western Eye hospital in summer 2013 with a retinal tear which despite laser surgery developed into a full detachment. Thanks mainly to the amazing dedication, skill and attitude of one particular doctor and "the boss" , I always felt I was in the best possible hands. I later had cataract surgery (common after a detachment) and at a check-up in April I had high pressure in the operated eye. I was given a prescription for two months' worth of pressure drops and told me to stop them a week before my next appointment in six weeks time. That would have been fine except the appointment I was given was more than 12 weeks later. I had run out of drops and was going to be on holiday. Which I could have warned them about if they had said the appt was going to be that far away in the first instance. I was given a new appointment for September. A few days beforehand I was contacted by hospital to change the appointment for a month later. Finally, almost seven months after I was told the hospital wanted to keep a regular check on my eye pressure, I get to see a doctor. After more than an hour's wait for the nurse in a packed stuffy waiting room with standing room only, I was told the pressure was high in both my eyes. I sat worrying for a further hour before seeing a very grumpy doctor. He told me I should not have stopped using the drops!! He did not seem interested in the fact I had done exactly what I was told to do. Back in April no one had ever suggested I should keep getting prescriptions for more drops if for any reason my appointment was delayed. In any case, I was only meant to be using them in the operated eye whereas the pressure was now high in both. I had to push for any information about potential damage to my eyes and felt as if I was being a nuisance by even asking. The doctor kept writing while speaking to me, rarely looking up, and I never felt I had his full attention. It was well after 1pm by now (I seem to remember clinic officially finishes at 1pm) and I got the impression he wanted me out the door so he could move on to the next patient, despite the fact I was now upset and worried. I was told to use the drops in both eyes and come back in six weeks. Guess what. I have just got an appointment for ten weeks time when I am due to be in Ireland. I will either have to cancel my trip or wait another two-three months for an appt if my previous experience is anything to go by. After such wonderful treatment by the retinal team, I am now filled with gloom and fear. Why on earth do doctors say glibly "come back in six weeks" when they must know the waiting time is far longer than that for appointments? Why is there such a long wait for appointments? Why when you postpone an appt because of an unavoidable clash do you have to wait almost as long again for an appt? Why is the whole experience of visiting Western Eye Hospital so very unpleasant?

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Responses

Response from Western Eye Hospital

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is very dissappointed to read of your experience at the Western Eye Hospital. We are working hard to improve the experience of our patients and seeking to address the capacity issues. Your comments are important to us and if you would like to provide further details please contact our PALS Team pals@imperial.nhs.uk. We sincerely apologise for the poor experience you have reported and this has been passed to senior managers.

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