"Excellent patient care spoiled by..."

About: Northwick Park Hospital

What I liked

I was accompanying my partner to a cardiac appointment which he had waited for for 2 months. He was kept waiting over an hour, but the appointment with the Consultant was long, and he took enormous amounts of care explaining the next steps to the patient. I was very impressed with his thoroughness and efficiency. He treated us both as intelligent people and explained in detail the technical aspects of what the ECG had shown up. He also dealt very skillfully with a man who was very anxious!

What could be improved

He recommended 2 further tests, neither of which could be done on the day. My partner has just had notification of the tests, and the more significant one, which is a treadmill test with ultrasound, is not until July 13th, which is 6 months after the event which prompted him to get a diagnosis.

This seems to be much too long a wait, as this is a potentially serious condition, which clearly needs a definite diagnosis and treatment. It also leaves my partner in a fair amount of anxiety and confusion about what he should and shouldn't be doing, and whether or not he is able to travel abroad for instance. I think for a potentially high-risk heart ailment this waiting time is totally unacceptable; I feel confident that when the consultant came out to inquire about the appointment, and said he would be away the following week, he had no idea that there would be a wait of this length.

Anything else?

The wait for these tests is unacceptable, and your patients need to be referred elsewhere if necessary. Presumably it would be much more problematic if in the meantime the patient collapses with a heart attack and has to be treated as an emergency?

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Response from Northwick Park Hospital

We were sorry to learn of the long wait that your partner has experienced in gaining an appointment for a cardiology investigation that he requires. If you or your partner contact the Patient Relations Office on 0208 869 2026, they will endeavour to help you.

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