"I am an outpatient of the Gastro ..."

About: Guy's Hospital

What I liked

I am an outpatient of the Gastro clinic, suffering from Ulcerative Colitis. At the beginning of the year the doctors lowered the dosage of my medication and told me to come back in 3 months to see if the change had had any adverse affects on my UC. Due to the way the appointments are made I only found out my appointment date a few weeks later and it happened to be when I'd booked a holiday so I immediately asked for a later appointment. The next available appointment was 2 months later but not having a choice I took it. On the lower dosage I began getting ill shortly after delaying that appointment and immediately tried to get an earlier appointment. Instead of getting a newer appointment I received a letter stating that the appointment process was changing and I'd be given an appointment even further in the future. At this point I was already very ill. I regularly contacted the appointments department who were very unhelpful and either didn't answer, hung up on me or put me thru to numbers that were never answered. All the while my health was getting worse and worse. I'd been left suffering severely for almost 3 months with no way of getting help. I eventually convinced my GP to prescribe me the medication I'd always taken in the past to get better and asked him to try to contact the specialist so that I could get treated. They managed to get me an appointment after some time. When I saw the specialist I was told appointments was the wrong department to phone and given a number for the IBD helpline. I repeatedly contacted this helpline after the hospital again didn't bother to update my GP with the corrections to my medication and while they seemed helpful and said my GP would be faxed instructions for the correct medication they only did this after almost another month of myself and my GP contacting them regularly asking for the documentation. I am still today trying to sort out the mess that is my prescription, having been prescribed only half of my medication.

What could be improved

A reliable way of contacting the hospital if I have health issues.

When altering medication some kind of monitoring should be done.

Not hanging up on patients.

Not promising assistance and then forgetting.

Decrease appointments department phone line hold times which when I last called were close to half an hour.

Supply one phone number where help or advice can be given instead of supplying many that are all dead ends.

Keep GP updated with medication changes.

Anything else?

I understand that the NHS is free at the point of delivery but I still pay for it and I feel that I should be treated as a customer and not like I'm being done a favour. This is not the first bad experience I've had with trying to get help from Guys. It's very disheartening when from past experience if I'm treated quickly I know I'll be feeling 90% better within a week but I know that Guys will leave me to suffer for months and make me jump thru all sorts of hoops to get the most basic of care.

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Responses

Response from Guy's Hospital

We are sorry about this - please accept our apologies. We're thinking about how we can make individual departments more customer conscious and realise that we have some issues with answering telephones in some services.

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