"Desperate improvement needed"

About: Queen's Medical Centre / Ophthalmology

(as a friend),

As a close friend who attended this clinic last Friday, I wish to put on record this visit was a total disaster and because of the inefficiency of this Department for over 3 ½ hours then because of the mis-management of her file, her injection was cancelled. The communication/administration/and basic running of this Department is I feel, totally diabolical, passion for patients care NIL – I think the impression most of the public have of the NHS is it is badly organised, and are dis-illusioned with the service they receive.

Are you, or any of your Board Members aware of the appalling way the Macular Degeneration Department is run, it is a total joke and are you/they aware of patients have to put up with? If not, I will not enlighten you, I think you will be ashamed – it definitely needs a time and motion study of wasted time of staff chatting/wandering about. I can make these comments with total passion/experience.

My previous experience of this department - I visited in 2011 and for about the next 2 years with my father aged 89 who attended for examinations/injections, I as his carer was always pulling my hair out at the way the elderly patients were treated, not like actual people, ‘ like cattle’. We would sit for hours on end, waiting firstly for the eye test, then a long wait for the eye drops procedure, then a very long wait for the x-ray, then another very long wait for the Doctor, and if needed after a long frustrating wait, maybe an injection. , I personally lost the will to live on each visit, and actually dreaded having to take him to Queens for this procedure. So when my friend asked me to drive here and wait, I agreed with total dread knowing what was coming. She was unaware of the problems ahead of her.

I must say, it is now over 2 years since my last visit to the department with my father, and I can honestly say I think that this Department is still in the same chaotic mess, as it was years ago. You would have thought it would have moved with the times, and become more efficient, not worse.

My friend's first visit to this department - the appointment was for 9. 30am we arrived early at 8. 20am because of traffic/horrendous car parking problems at Queens, which over the years has only got worse. We drove by the first paying car park on the left, 6 cars waiting, the sign said FULL, so we drove on. When passing the car park we saw quite a few empty spaces – so why did it say full? ? We managed to park, and the checked in at the department reception at 8. 30am, and sat patiently waiting, the Clinic was ¾ full of elderly people waiting for their appointments.

At 9. 00am a rather brusk nurse came out and declared the Clinic would be running late as the person setting everything up was sick, and this would now take time to set up – totally disgusting state of affairs. If this was the case, they should have just got on with it, without announcing how in-efficient they are. This was the problem of Queens, but of course this inflicted on the elderly patients waiting.

At about 10. 00am thinking my friend would be called any time, a rather brusk nurse came into the centre of the Clinic area with a piece of paper. Basically the message was ‘ is there anyone here for Dr? ? ? ? ? ? Clinic? ’ About 8 people put there hands up. She then proceed to announce ‘Dr? ? ? clinic today has been cancelled, please go to the reception desk and make another appointment for next Monday’. Bearing in mind some of these patients were in wheelchairs and the rest very elderly, my friend and I thought this was a totally disgusting way to treat people There was nothing offered in to them in the way of compensation for a waste of travel, ie car parking fees, bus/taxi fares – it was this is cancelled, now go away was how it came across. There was no compassion in the voice of the nurse – gave the message and disappeared, these poor old souls did not know what to do.

My friend went into have her first eye test at 10. 15am - 45mins late and then sat and went into see the Doctor at 1030am - She quickly came out, the Doctor apparently had been extremely offhand as she had missed her eye drops and x-ray – apparently one of the many nurses who stand about in a room (where patients can see them) had put her file in the wrong pile – seemingly mind not fully on the job) but this was my friend's first time in the Clinic.

She had her drops at 10. 45am and had the x-ray.

During these hours of waiting we could not understand why the staff just wandered aimlessly about, they would come out of their rooms wander around, and go back in – seemed they had lost the will to live/or had nothing to do.

My friend then waited until just after 12 noon to see the irritated Doctor for the second time, only to be told ‘it is too late to have the injection, you will have to wait until 2pm’. This was totally unacceptable to my friend so she declined, and has to make another trip to this Clinic for the injection she was deprived off.

The outcome is my friend as a first time patient to this clinic is totally dis-illusioned with Queens, the way the Department is run, and basically has no faith in the treatment she may or may not receive.

I feel that as a matter of urgency this department needs a total shake up. The Receptionist is just very matter of fact, no ‘good morning’ just name. The wait in the clinic for anything to happen is totally un-acceptable – it was the same

3 /4 years ago, and has not improved in any way since then. The communication of bad news to patients should come from someone who is actually responsible for running the department, who knows what is happening, and if any problems he/she should fix them immediately. It is Queens’s problem to sort, but it is the public who have to suffer at the hand of your inefficiencies.

Unfortunately this type of constant occurrence gets the NHS a very bad name.

Your comments would be appreciated on how the management of the Queens is going to rectify this problem. I am solely writing to bring to your attention the diabolical way I feel elderly patients in this department are being treated, who have no choice except to use the NHS.

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Response from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Hello Raffiella.

Thank you for your letter and such a detailed and frank account of the experience of you & your friend. It is very clear that we have fallen short in a number of areas, for which I apologise (past and present).

Much work is underway to make improvements to this service in response to patient feedback. I am disappointed to hear that this does not appear to be having the intended impact. Such are your concerns that I would like to discuss and investigate these concerns for your friend more fully. If she would like us to do so, we would be grateful if she could get in touch with me directly on 0115 9249924 ext. 66459.

Kind regards,

Hannah Docherty.

Matron, Head and Neck.