"Poor communication in hospital"

About: Broomfield Hospital / General medicine

(as a relative),

My wife and I took her Father who is in his 80s to Broomfields Hospital near Chelmsford in Essex. We arrived at 09. 50 for his appointment at 10. 10. Booking in was normal. We were then sent to the waiting area for his appointment, When arriving at the waiting area the TV screen showed a delay in waiting time of 90 minutes for the registrar or 60 minutes delay for the consultant. There was no explanation on the screen as to why.

Two hours later we still had not been seen, but we had found out that there had been a computer problem, this we found out by talking to other patients, not one member of nursing or others had come forward to offer an explanation or apology for the delay. Two and a half hours later then our appointment time my Father in Law is seen, the TV screen still showing a 60 and 90 minute delay. Still no explanation from the nurses or consultant as to why the delay but the nurse said sorry for it.

We understand that not all patients can be given and seen in set times as some need more and some need less explanations for their treatment etc. What we cannot understand is why we had no updates on the TV screen or why no one came and explained what had or what was happening, we were kept like mushrooms totally in the dark. With the technology available it is so easy to update the screens in hospital that is if someone could take the time to ensure patients are kept informed as to what is happening. I believe that nursing staff should nurse and that admin staff should be able to inform patients what's happening.

We get very good health care from those we take Dad to see but the lack of information is so distressing if his appointment had been for a Thursday and all this had gone wrong he would not been able to stay to see the consultant as his wife who has health issues has to see him and us on Thursdays, otherwise she becomes very unsettled and the staff at her home get the rough end from her. I would like to have an explanation as to why the communication on the screens with delay times is so out of synch with the real waiting times.

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Response from Jonathan Wright, Patient Experience & Voluntary Services Manager, Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust

picture of Jonathan Wright

Thank you for the feedback. I am pleased that you find the healthcare to be of a high standard. I apologise that the waiting time information on the screens had not been updated, this should have done. I will forward your comments to the Outpatient Manager who can address with the team. Please pass on my sincere apologies to your father in law at the needless distress we caused.

Best wishes

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Update posted by Dave48 (a relative)

The response is what I expected a bit crass, nothing new on how they would make sure that patients are kept updated by the screens in the waiting areas. Just like many large organisations they always seem to state they will learn by this experience. Yet it happens time and time again. The next time I have to visit the Hospital I will time how often the times are changed and how far out they may be. As I said in my previous statement with the available technology this should not be so far away from what was happening.