"Long wait for warfarin test"

About: Christchurch Hospital

My mother of 91 attended today for her regular warfarin test. She arrived early and waited until 9am for the doors to open. There was already a queue.

On arriving at the designated room, there were not enough seats for all the patients. She then had to stand until a seat became available. She eventually had her blood test at 10.20.

Bearing in mind most of the warfarin patients are elderly, this service is totally unacceptable. Why have you changed the system, when the previous one appeared to be satisfactory?

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Response from Christchurch Hospital

Dear Anonymous

I am so sorry that your mother had such a difficult experience and would very much like to investigate this further with the Phlebotomy Manager.

I will send your comments to her and we will then get back to you with a more detailed response within the next week.

Please bear with us while we look into this issue.


Sue Mellor

Head of Patient Engagement

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Response from Sue Mellor, Patient Experience Lead, Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Dear ‘Anonymous’

We would like to apologise that your mother had such a long delay and was unable to find a seat during part of her wait and we apologise that there is insufficient seating available in the pathology department during this period of refurbishment at the Christchurch hospital. Thank you for your patience enabling us the time to make contact and review your experience with the manager of that department. As you will be aware that hospital site has been undergoing very significant redevelopment and I am sorry this has had such an impact on your Mother.

We have contacted the Phlebotomy Manager about the points you raised and have now received the following response from them which we have placed below for your review.

“I am sorry to learn about the difficulties you recently encountered

The opening hours at Christchurch Hospital have been unchanged at 09.00-15.30 hours for several years. There are three signs at Christchurch Hospital indicating the opening hours – one at the Main Entrance, one at the Outpatients area and one outside the Phlebotomy Department

The Phlebotomists start at 08.00 hours to collect specimens from the patients on the Wards and Day Hospital at Christchurch. On their return from the Wards they parcel the specimens to send to Royal Bournemouth Hospital for testing and open the Phlebotomy service, usually around 09.00 hours

It has been brought to our attention only recently by the new Phlebotomy Manager that the Phlebotomy service has unofficially been opening earlier with the result that the staff have been unable to complete their duties before formally opening at 09.00 hours. This has caused further problems later in the day with the specimens for Warfarin patients not arriving at The Royal Bournemouth Hospital in a timely fashion

The Department are now reviewing the operational aspects for Phlebotomy at Christchurch Hospital with an understanding that an appointment system will be introduced once all our new staff being appointed are trained

In the interim it has been arranged that Warfarin patients will be given priority when Phlebotomy opens at 09.00 hours and to ensure that (1) Specimens reach Royal Bournemouth Hospital for timely testing and (2) Warfarin patients are not kept waiting unnecessarily

I am sorry about your unfortunate experience and pleased to say the funds have now been made available to introduce a thorough review of the service at Christchurch”

We do hope that the response above in some part addresses the issues you have highlighted and during future visits to the department your mother, along with other patients, will be aware of the improvements currently being implemented. We also hope that you will note how seriously we take feedback and act upon it. I am sorry that your Mothers experience was not what we would have hoped for and that the changes we expect to take place make it easier for other patients when they have been fully implemented.

Thank you for raising this and if you wish to discuss further please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALs) on 01202 704886


Sue Mellor

Head of Patient Engagement

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