"Patronizing and rude staff"

About: Sussex Eye Hospital

We brought a 2.5-year old toddler for an refraction eye test to find out if our child needs glasses. The child was given eye drops that sting, which had obviously upset her. She was examined by a doctor who had no patience for a crying child or a worried parent. In the end, after managing to pin my child down for a quick eye check, we were lectured on how a toddler should be able to sit still through a painful eye test by a stranger, then I was told of for offering my child a treat to take her mind of the negative experience ("don't encourage negative behaviour with sweets", I quote) and finally my questions and request for advice about teaching a toddler to wear glasses were dismissed as mildly ridiculous (even though, in my enquiries I was mainly guided by parents' experiences and concerns articulated on mumsnet and similar forums). Our prescription was not explained, so we had to go straight to a private optician to discuss our child's eye health. I felt that a stressful day was made worse for us by the patronizing attitude of the doctor. I understand that the staff do not have the time to deal with and pamper to every distraught child, but I expected a degree of sensitivity to the fears and anxieties of a toddler in a new and scary situation. Our GP and the health visitor understand that a two-year old cannot be easily forced to do something frankly unpleasant. We thought that an optometrist specializing in children would have a child-centered attitude and communication skills that do no verge on accusation and ridicule of our parenting.

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Response from Sussex Eye Hospital

Thank you for your comments.

Should you wish to discuss this matter further, please contact our PALS Team on 01273 664973 or by email at pals@bsuh.nhs.uk.

Kind regards

Patient experience Team

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