"Children's department needs to be improved"

About: Rotherham Hospital / Ophthalmology

(as a relative),

I took my two year old daughter to the eye clinic. On arriving at the hospital there was no designated spaces left in the car park (even though the barrier let me through) so had to park on a grass verge. I was a little early for the appointment (arriving at around 10.40 am and appointment being at 11.00 am). On arriving in the eye clinic, the child's play area was full (I will come back to this) and I could only see two seats left far down the corridor. On looking at the board it said that they were seeing 98 patients that day, which I thought was excessive for such a small department. I stayed with my daughter for a while but of course she became bored so we went to the play area. My first impression was that the play area was very small, three chairs for adults to sit and one to stand and that was about it. I thought it had a distinct smell of BO and looked to me like it had not been cleaned. I could see one window which was open (all the ones in the main corridor were closed, so I think someone must have noticed the smell).

In my opinion the toys looked very old and grubby (I saw some were broken, missing pieces etc). I didn't really want my daughter playing with them but of course I couldn't stop my child wanting to play. She has subsequently come down with a sickness bug. We were 15 minutes late for seeing the first doctor, and then waiting another 20 minutes to see the nurse for eye drops (who I thought was quite rough in administering them, which made my daughter cry). I think this might have been because she had so many patients to see and was trying to get through everyone as quick as possible. The doctor was seen about half an hour later.

I estimate that about 40% of the patients in the department are children under the age of about 10 and all the hospital has is the one tiny and in my opinion smelly, grubby room to play in. I even heard one of the women saying to her children that the next time they came they would fetch some old toys to donate. I could understand if it was just a quick ten minute appointment but me and my daughter were at the hospital for over two hours. I think it is impossible for my two year old to be expected to wait for two hours without getting bored. If something could be done about this then I think it would be a much more pleasant experience for everyone or I suggest even have a separate eye clinic department for children which would of course cater to them better.

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Response from Yvonne Nettleton, Patient and Public Engagement Officer, NHS Rotherham

Many thanks for sharing your recent experience at the Childrens Department. We will pass on your comments to the relevant Department who will reply to you in due course.

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Response from Rebecca Allinson, Associate Director, Corporate Relations, Rotherham Hospital We are preparing to make a change

We were sorry to hear that you found the eye clinic so crowded and the children’s play area too small, unpleasant and ill equipped.

We do indeed have plans for a larger unit which can better address the numbers of people who use this service but in the meantime your observations have been shared with the department so that they can address them as much as possible now – particularly the fabric of the children’s play area.

Thank you for sharing these comments with us.

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