"The Doctor I saw was quiet, thoughtful, ..."

About: St Helier Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

The Doctor I saw was quiet, thoughtful, kind and informative, The cafe was very comfortable and friendly and saved me from going insane whilst dealing with the rest of the hospital.

What could be improved

There were barely any alchohol hand washers ANYWHERE! . I had to search for them. Kingston Hospital has them outside every ward, and inside every ward, on corridoors, at reception desks... here I couldn't find one and the hospital looked very dirty. So much so that I was keen to clean my hands on the way out. I asked for alchohol wash at reception because there was none on show, and was given a bottle out of a cupboard under the counter!! - She said they only give it out when asked as they are not obliged to have it on show when it's not technically a clinical area. - It's appalling! It's still visitors first and last point of call and therefore an essential place to have it. Has anyone here HEARD of MRSA? or HYGEINE. Also the car parking was barely signposted at all from the road and NOT AT ALL if you overshot it and turned into the hospital itself and it was unclear that you had to pay at a pay station before leaving. I assumed you paid in your car on the way out - there were several other people who thought the same and there was a queue of people trying to get out with someone at the front trying to reverse as they hadn't paid at the pay station in the car park. It was chaos. Whilst I was driving round the hospital premises trying to find somewhere to park, I stopped to ask a hospital employee where the car park was and was told "there isn't one, you just have to find somewhere on the street".

Anything else?

When I received my follow up appointment details in the post, I needed to change the date due to the appointment being when I was on holiday. I phoned the switchboard and asked if they could tell me the number of the clinic and then also put me through. She ignored my question and just put me through. I hung on for 10 MINUTES with no reply. I put the phone down and tried again. This time I said to the receptionist - "please don't put me through to anyone, I just want the extension number of this department. She said "hold on" then put me on 'silent' hold indefinitely without putting me through to anywhere and without saying another word. This happened at approximately 11.25 am on Monday 22nd June and I think this receptionist should be disciplined for treating patients in such an outrageous and rude manner - at the point when they are powerless to do anything about it.

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Response from St Helier Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to comment about the service you received at St Helier Hospital.

I am pleased to hear your positive feedback about the doctor that you saw - having confidence in the people treating you is such an important part of getting better.

I'm sorry if you found it hard to find alcohol rub. However, I am happy to reassure you that alcohol rub is located throughout the hospital, including inside and outside all of the clinical areas where patients, visitors and staff would be expected to use it. There are also prominent signs reminding people about the importance of washing their hands or using alcohol rub before entering and on leaving wards and other clinical areas.

We have also launched a new awareness campaign to further increase awareness of infection control and prevention among patients, visitors and staff. You can find more information about it here - www.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk/infectioncontrol.

You should be assured that we take infection control and prevention very seriously and, as such, it is our number one priority. As a result, we have seen a dramatic reduction in the number of cases of healthcare acquired infections, including MRSA and C. difficile, at our hospitals in recent months. In fact, new data published by the Health Protection Agency last month shows that the number of cases of MRSA (bacteraemia) and C. difficile at the Trust's three hospitals during 2008/09 are the lowest since records began.

I am sorry that you were not happy with the signage for the car park. I will pass your comments on to our estates team so that they can consider ways to further improve this and make sure that visitors know that they need to pay for their parking before they return to their car. I can only apologise if a member of staff said there is no car park as this is obviously incorrect.

I also apologise that you had a poor experience when trying to change the date of your appointment. I will forward your comments to the manager of that department so that the issues can be addressed.

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