"The Patient Advice and Liaison ..."

About: St George's Hospital (Tooting) (London)

(as the patient),

What I liked

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service were very helpful and got me what I needed.

What could be improved

Administration, staff training (politeness), information and phone systems.

I was simply trying to book an ultrasound appointment for myself following GP referral.

The form I was given by the GP had no phone number on it, so I phoned the main appointments number - they couldn't help and put me through to someone else - who couldn't help - and put me through to someone who cut me off. Following some research, I found a relevant phone number on the trust's website (from a confusing choice of about 6 different numbers for radiology), rang up and was cut off again by a rather abrupt sounding person.

Rather than go through the process again, I phoned up the PALS who were very polite and helpful and promised to find the right number. 20 minutes later PALS called back and put me straight through to the now rather politer-sounding person (clearly had a telling-off).

The lesson I've learnt is - if you can't get what you want - complain.

Anything else?

It was all so unneccessary: if I'd had the right number on the GP referral form, I could have cut out much of this rigmarole.

This took up several hours of my life - it shouldn't have. I only got through to the right person because I am mentally with-it, persistent and single-minded...and had access to the internet. I rather think that many other vulnerable people wouldn't have been so lucky, would have ended up without an appointment, without necessary care, and poorer health as a result.

Story from NHS Choices

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