"Good doctors, helpful staff, need better..."

About: Royal Free Hospital

What I liked

All but one of the doctors and nurses I saw were polite, helpful, and professional.

The embarrassment and discomfort were minimised as much as possible, and one of the doctors in particular did a very good job of making an unpleasant procedure bearable.

I was informed of what was going on, and well treated at all stages

What could be improved

The administration!

For some reason rather than the clinic booking ultrasounds and scans directly, I had to go downstairs with a form that they had filled out, which had notes written on it by the referring doctor, and get the ultrasound appointment myself. That would have been fine, just slightly tedious, except that on one occasion I was then given the wrong procedure, and had to rebook and endure another appointment a few weeks later. In addition, I arrived for my appointment to find the clinic could not find my results, and had to wait for an hour while someone tried to find out where they were - not helped by the fact that the results were for a different procedure to the one they had expected.

I received several letters from the Royal Free, and usually they were postmarked about a month after the date they were written, meaning that I missed at least one appointment as the letter didn't arrive until after the appointment date.

In the end, due to the poor administration, something that could have been done in 4-5 appointments took 7, and stretched over 3 months.

Also, on two of the occasions when I arrived I had to wait for significant periods of time (1 hour or more) as the doctor had been delayed on his way in. Once could just be an unlucky day, but twice...

Anything else?

I was well treated at the Royal Free, and am happy with it. Visiting a breast clinic and finding out whether or not you have cancer is always going to be a difficult experience, and the staff at the Royal Free did very well in being professional, friendly and respectful. If they could just co-ordinate between departments a little better, and perhaps look at their letter-posting procedures, then a lot less of my time and theirs would have been wasted!

Story from NHS Choices

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