"Very inefficient handling of patients..."

About: West Middlesex University Hospital

What I liked

The doctor was friendly and seemed knowledgeable.

What could be improved

The processing of patients like me could be far more efficient.

I went to the A&E with a blocked ear due to wax.

The sequence of events that followed is as follows:

1 - I explained my problem to the receptionist, who asked me to register.

2 - I registered my details at the reception.

3 - I was seen by a nurse 10 minutes after registration who ascertained that my ear was indeed blocked.

4 - I waited for 3 hours to be seen by the doctor, who confirmed that my ear is blocked and recommended that I go to my GP to get it syringed.

I was told that syringing ears was not performed by the A&E.

When I asked why I wasn't told that syringing ears is not performed I was told that only the doctor can draw the final conclusion about the treatment.

Which of course I find to be inefficient nonsense.

Nurses should be empowered to draw conclusions in such straightforward cases.

Consider how the events above, and hence my customer satisfaction, could have been different if I was told syringing is not offered at step 3 above.

10 minutes after entering the A&E the patient is told that the treatment is not offered.

He leaves a bit frustrated but encouraged by the quick verdict and very little time is wasted.

The A&E waiting room is less congested and the rest of the patients are happier.

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Responses

Response from West Middlesex University Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to give us feedback on your recent experience at our hospital. We are sorry that on this occasion it appears our service was not of the high standard we aim for.

It is difficult for us to respond in detail to your feedback, without having full details of your visit. In general we recommend that patients with a build up of ear wax visit their family doctor (GP) in the first instance, not an accident and emergency department like ours. They would normally advise that a patient softens the ear wax for a period of time first before an attempt at syringing is made. However, depending on exactly how you explained your condition when you visited our accident and emergency department then we may have felt that further examination was advisable in case the symptoms you were experiencing were the result of a more serious complaint.

If you would like us to look into your concerns in more detail, then our PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) team, by emailing pals.service@wmuh.nhs.uk / calling 020 8321 6261.