"Two topics - Switchboard answering time and eye..."

About: Worthing Hospital

I have recently had lazer treatment to a torn retina. The actual appointments went very well, the nursing staff and the doctor who treated me were excellent in their professionalism and care. I have no quibble about that. However, initially my optician after examining me in the morning , telephoned the unit to say I should have an urgent appointment with them to see a doctor; he followed that through with a fax and then another call to make sure the fax had been received, I waited at home for the unit to phone me. Four hours later, still nothing. I phoned the hospital. The calls are picked up automatically at the switchboard and begin to ring internally, then the "muzak" on the line is interrupted by an occasional message saying the operator is busy, I could either hold or call back. It takes 6 - 10 minutes on average to speak to a human being and I've had to call back about five times since then with the same thing happening. No doubt others find the same problem. This is not good enough. It's not efficient, it's ill mannered, and wastes my time and my money . It's happened every time I've had to deal with the hospital, it is not an occasional blip. The Eye Unit's doctors and nurses are always brilliant, we are very lucky to have access to such a facility and I know others feel the same, Thank you! My problem is with the unit's apparent lack of organisation. After I eventually got through to the unit iteself, on the phone,, I was informed my notes had been "lost", which is why I hadnt got an urgent call back. It transpired the notes had possibly been sent across to the appointments secretaries so I could receive details through the post. So much for urgent. I explained the "urgency" and was then promised a call back in 10 minutes. This was at 4.15. At 4.50 I called again (8 minutes waiting for call to be answered), got through to the unit and the same person told me she hadn't had time to sort it out and that someone (name given) would ring first thing in the morning. Having heard nothing by 11.15 the following day, I called again. The named person, said she hadnt been given details and so apologised to me and told me she would look and call me back. She did this a few minutes later. a doctor would look at my notes and assess. Well two hours later I got a call and an appointment for the next day, so I was relieved. Then shortly after that call, I got another call with the same information from a different member of staff. My actaul appointment - diagnosis and treatment complete I was told I would get an appointment for 2 weeks for follow up. Ten days later, today. Nothing. I have just spent yet another fruitless 10 minutes waiting to speak to a human, who then put me through to apppointments, which turned out to be the wrong appointments section, and so I wait....If I'd been as inefficient in my job, I would have got the sack.

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Response from Worthing Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to give us this feedback, regarding a very frustrating experience. We appreciate the positive comments about the nursing and medical staff, and apologise for the problems you have had with your various phone calls and poor communication. As the site is anonymous, we don't have your personal details but if you would like to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on palsworthing@wsht.nhs.uk, we can look into your concerns more fully. I shall, in the meantime, forward your post to the Manager for the Ophthalmology service.

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