"I was shocked by their manner"

About: Avenue House / Recovery Team (East)

(as the patient),

I arrived for my appointment which was booked many months ago. The previous day I had received a call confirming my appointment and asking me to confirm my attendance. On arrival I stated my name and time of appointment. I was asked which Dr I was seeing. At the time of making the appointment months back, it was unsure what Dr would be in place so I was unsure myself. The staff member's response was to sigh heavily and raise their hand saying there were 5 Doctors. I am well aware of this as I have been a patient for in excess of 15 years, through many changes and restructurings.

Given that this centre is attended by vulnerable people, I was shocked by their manner which was rude and almost aggressive. They said I was not on the system which I found surprising as I had been called the day before. Before sighing again they asked me to take a seat. I returned to the desk to offer new GP details (promoted by a large sign in the waiting room). A dialogue ensued during which they were defensive and rude particularly when I apologised for not knowing my Dr and for maybe causing trouble. They offered an explanation about my appointment not being on their printed list of appointments but on the system and asked who had made the appointment. I confirmed it was made at the time of my last appointment. They started to back track in their manner when I commented that they had been quite dismissive when I originally said I did not know which Dr I was seeing.

This centre has had a makeover in terms of painting and furniture but needs to address how it treats people who are potentially vulnerable. I today am well I would not have been been able to cope with that treatment when I was unwell. I was able to discuss the issue with my Dr during the appointment who was very empathetic and said he would refer to the manager. X

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Response from Melissa Bullen, Sector Manager, West London Mental Health NHS Trust We have made a change

Thank you for taking time to make this complaint. The admin worker that you have had this unpleasant experience with is an agency worker. I have addressed your complaint with her. You are the not the first person to have made such a complaint and she will be leaving the team shortly.

I agree that vulnerable people do attend Avenue House and recognise the need for the front desk staff to be empathetic and supportive to all clients attending appointments. I am sorry you have had a negative experience at Avenue House and hope that next time you attend you will find that the reception staff have changed and are pleasant. I apologise for the experience you have had.

Regards Melissa

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