"Contacting the hospital"

About: William Harvey Hospital / Ear, Nose and Throat

(as a carer),

Following an ear trauma, my husband was referred to the Rotary Suite at William Harvey Hospital. After seeing a doctor he was told that he would be referred for a hearing test. Over two weeks on he had received no referral. At no time did we have any paperwork with contact names or numbers.

My husband has been severely impaired and traumatised by this sudden deafness. He is disorientated and confused by it.

Today I tried to phone the hospital to see what had happened to this referral. What a nightmare this turned out to be. It has taken over two hours of being passed from one person to another with each person giving me a wrong number. I was stuck in telephone queue waiting, on the end of telephones that were not answered or greeted by answer phones.

I eventually came into contact with Claire Laker from Children's Audiology, who could not have been more helpful and kind. She was totally empathic and customer focussed. She put me in touch with the ward clerk at the rotary suite, who was also very helpful. Indeed, as we feared, no referral for a hearing test had been made. She has arranged for a return visit to the Rotary Suite next week where she assured me that my husband would be given a hearing test.

My thanks go to these two thoughtful and helpful staff who did everything they could to help.

In general however, the system for patients trying to make contact with the hospital is appalling. The admin staff really do need to understand how difficult it is to ever get through to the right department and to avoid giving wrong numbers and information. Answer phone messages should not include details such as how difficult an increased workload makes the job of the particular staff member. Phone lines should never ring and ring with no one responding at the other end.

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Responses

Response from Sally Smith, Chief Nurse and Director Of Quality, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you so much for your feedback. I am so sorry about the delays you experienced in trying to contact us. I will certainly feed this back so that the teams can work to improve this for our patients and their carers and visitors. I'm glad the staff were kind and helpful in the end.

Sally

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Update posted by Anna132 (a carer)

Thank you Sally. Would you please pass on my comment to Claire Laker in Children's Audiology, and also to the Ward Clerk at the Rotary Suite.

Response from Sally Smith, Chief Nurse and Director Of Quality, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Certainly, of course I will.

Best regards

Sally

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Response from Sally Smith, Chief Nurse and Director Of Quality, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Anna,

The Ward Sister has provided me with the following response for you as well:

To improve communications we have introduced an informaiton slip with ENT secretary phone numbers on to be given out in the Emergency clinic when patients have been referred for audiology or scans. This will ensure they have a phone number to contact. This process is used in the routine clinics and works well.

thank you

Caroline Mackenzie

Ward Manager

Rotary Ward

Best regards

Sally

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Response from William Harvey Hospital

I am so sorry that you and your husband did not receive a patient-centred service when he was referred to the Rotary Suite at the William Harvey Hospital and that you had such a run-around finding the right person to speak to. I completely concur that answerphone message should be entirely professional and not include the workload issues of a particular member of staff.

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