"In fairness, when I was finally ..."
About: Queen Charlotte's Hospital Queen Charlotte's Hospital London W12 0HS
Posted by YEI
What I liked
In fairness, when I was finally seen by the midwife, the appointment took place in a clean, cool and quiet room. The midwife was very apologetic about the waiting time and she gave me the impression that we had all the time in the world which was pleasant. We went through my medical history and I had time to ask my questions. I was explained the type of care I would be given and what else would be happening after that appointment and I was given some additional brochures to take away with me. I was slightly more reassured after this appointment. On a less positive note, I was subsequently taken to the scanning department where I was told to come back in a week as I was a few days short of being at the ideal time for a scan. I felt this could have been planned better (as these dates could have been calculated upfront from the information that had already been provided by my GP).
What could be improved
My first impressions are mixed. I called the hospital last week to change my ante-natal appointment. The representative I spoke to was extremely unpleasant and unnecessarily rude. This gave a really bad first impression and it would have taken little effort to make that very first contact a more pleasant experience. I understand people are busy but so am I and this was well below what I would expect from a hospital service.
I subsequently went for my first appointment. Having arrived 10 minutes before my scheduled appointment I was kept waiting for 2 hours (!) before I was actually seen. The ante-natal clinic came across as disorganised. The fact that the waiting room was jam-packed, very hot and some people didn’t have a chair to sit on gives you an indication of how busy it was. I can understand this leads to delays but I found a 2-hour wait absolutely unacceptable. The fact that the brochure says that the initial booking appointment can take up to 3 hours seems to suggest that it has not gone unnoticed that there is a waiting problem. I found the 3-hour reference to provide a somewhat misleading impression as it seemed to suggest a 3-hour time-span filled with various appointments when in fact you spend most of that time waiting. I think expectations can be managed more effectively in this regard.
Overall (and so far) therefore, I think (i) the attitude at reception can definitely be improved (and can easily be done); (ii) the waiting times are at an unacceptable level; and (iii) planning can be improved to try and combine as many appointments into one day where this could easily have been done. I have tried to be as objective as I can and I hope these are fair comments that will taken on board by the clinic.