"Uncommunicative Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital"

About: Royal National Throat, Nose & Ear Hospital / Audiological medicine

(as the patient),

For over three years I have contacted RNTNE to complain about their telephone service. You will note that the Internet shows numerous similar complaints. As yet, the RNTNE have not responded in any way to my complaints. In essence, the complaints are:

a) the telephones are always answered by non English speaking people. This makes an already difficult task for hearing impaired people almost impossible. I have not experienced any standard English speaking people in front line work at the RNTNE. This seems to be a matter of deliberate policy.

b) The telephones often aren't answered at all. They either go to a voicemail (which itself isn't helpful for hearing impaired people) or they just ring and aren't answered at all, going into a "loop" of redirctions.

c) Front desk staff seem entirely unaware of how to address people with hearing difficulty, despite the remit of the organisation, of even basic awareness. I have experienced people keeping their heads down when speaking to individuals who can't hear clearly.

Last time I visited, an elderly man was pleading (literally) with the front desk clerk to speak more clearly. They had a very pronounced accent. Finally the person simply dismissed him. He left, appearing extremely distressed. I fear that he will now give up and become increasingly isolated.

I have written to my MP and he has raised a query at the Department of Health. The DH have responded with a standard letter pointing out that if I can't understand the voices of individuals at the RNTNE, I can ask for the help of an interpreter. I consider this facile, obtuse and patronising.

I have copied in the RNID to all recent correspondence.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››