"Kind staff and quick service at breast clinic"

About: Royal Alexandra Hospital / General Surgery

(as the patient),

I was referred to the breast clinic by my GP and was told it could take 2 weeks to be seen. I received a call the next day to make an appointment for the following week. I asked if there was any information leaflet relating to the clinic, but the girl told me there would not be enough time to get it to me - the appointment was 6 days later, Royal Mail is not that slow! - so I had to search the internet for information of what to expect from my visit.

When I arrived at the clinic, the receptionist could not find me on the system at first, and I had to repeat my details several times before she eventually found me.

I was called immediately and seen Mr Musyoka who was kind and gentle and explained what would happen during my clinic visit. I went to the radiology department for my mammogram, ultrasound and had 3 biopsies done at the same time.

The radiographer was very nice (didn't catch her name), the auxilliary nurse Christine and the radiologist Laura Wilkinson were both patient and explained everything as they were going along. After my scans were reported, I was sent back round to the clinic where Mr Musyoka and the breast care nurse Alison Mitchell explained what would happen next. I was to return the following week for the results and I had to make a repeat appointment on the way out.

When I went back to the reception desk, the staff were once again not very helpful. I was asked to make an appointment for the end of the clinic as I was receiving results and this would mean plenty of time to discuss them, but the staff did not seem to appreciate this and I had to explain myself several times which I found distressing.

Eventually the appointment was made correctly, but I really feel that more compassion is required by the reception staff when dealing with sensitive matters in a very public place.

Besides this negative experience with the reception staff, I have nothing but praise for the other staff involved in my care during a very stressful time for both me and my Husband, and wish to commend each and every member of the team. I am just sorry I didn't catch all the names of the staff involved.

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Responses

Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear Evelynvanni,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed account of the experience you had when you visited this clinic. There are so many positives in your story which are great to hear, including the speed with which you were given an appointment, to the medical and nursing staff who looked after you during your appointment. It is fantastic to hear how kind and informative the staff were to you, and how much of an impact this made to you and your husband.

You have also highlighted some very important points around two issues: patient information and staff attitudes and behaviours. While a quick turnaround from referral to appointment is fantastic, you have noted that sometimes patients will want more detailed information before their appointment so they know what to expect. While I appreciate your point that there would still have been time to send you this information by post, it may be that there is a better way to do this, for example, being able to refer people directly to resources on the internet rather than patients having to look for these themselves. I'd like to look into this in more detail.

The second point with regards to reception staff, I will forward on to the Manager for this service. It is so important that all members of staff recognise that they have a role to play in the experience patients have in hospital. Very often reception staff are the first people that patients will meet and this can set the tone for the rest of their visit.

I am glad however that on the whole you had an extremely positive experience and I will pass on your kind feedback to the staff who looked after you.

With very best wishes,

Lorna

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Update posted by evelynv (the patient)

Thank you Lorna for your reply. Absolutely there were many positives about my story and they have to be shared with the staff concerned as we don't give enough positive feedback, but are very quick to criticise when things are right.

With regards looking for information on the internet, I did find the information I sought, but the danger with this process is that some websites are not updated regularly and not all contain accurate inofrmation as they can be amended by lay members of the public. I suggest that your hospital supply a link to their own website which contains downloadable copies of your own information booklets, at least this way, the information is relevant to your hospital.

As for the reception staff issue, I appreciate you feeding back to the Manager and I hope they take on board my comments and act on them.

Thanks again.