"Disabled outpatient experience very stressful..."

About: Royal Stoke University Hospital

How is a disabled visitor who needs to attend without a carer supposed to get from the car to the nearest wheelchair? Why is there no system for booking a porter, or information about the porter system included with the appointment paperwork? The receptionist at the main entrance was so rude and disrespectful to me(noticed by other patients waiting for porters) that I was too distressed to even comment as I didn't want to lose control of my emotions so publically. I was told to go and get a wheelchair and to hurry - if hurrying were possible for me then I wouldn't need a wheelchair! These things have easy solutions - so solve them. I waited so long for a porter I was late for my appointment despite having arrived at reception at least 30 minutes before my appointment. Porter who did arrive very kind, pleasant, respectful and empathetic. Wheelchair broken and making a terrible noise on both occasions - causing people to stare and me to feel humiliated because it appeared to them that I had broken it because of my size when I weigh more than 70kg less than the maximum stated on the chair. Clinic staff were again pleasant, polite, clear and respectful. Sadly the whole trip, stress, journey, parking fee was a waste of my time and money because the machine I was given to take home didn't work. This follows a fight to get the appointment as I was discharged for a DNA that didn't happen, I rang to say I couldn't attend, presumably someone didn't do their job and record my call appropriately. So I waited 51 weeks for an appointment after an initial investigation diagnosed me with a condition that needs treatment. A total failure in duty of care. One member of staff tried to take ownership of the problem following a lengthy letter of complaint - this member of staff was a delight. However, 5 weeks after handing the machine back I have had no further contact. I have tried to ring multiple times, no-one in the department is ever available to answer the phone - despite the presence of a receptionist both times I attended the clinic in person. This is all utterly unnecessary. It would be less expensive to prevent all the problems I have listed than it is to continue as they are. However the level of suffering the whole fiasco has subjected me to is totally contrary to the purpose of the NHS. The NHS overall has my total support.

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Response from Royal Stoke University Hospital

I am very sorry to read about your recent experience of our hospital. We are consistently working to find ways to improve our services and I have shared your concerns regarding the parking, wheelchair condition and availability and the portering service with the Matron who oversees these services. I have also shared your comments regarding the Receptionist with the department manager however I would like to offer my apologies that you had such a stressful experience during your visit.

In relation to the difficulties you are having in contacting the necessary department regarding outstanding issues with your appointments and equipment, if you could contact the PALS department on 01782 676450 or 01782 676455; or by email on patientadvice.uhnm@nhs.net, a member of staff will be able to support and assist you with this.

Thank you for taking the time to comment on your experience.

Best wishes

Angela Grocott, Head of Patient Experience.

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