"Frustrating."

About: St Mary's Hospital (London)

What I liked

The department is clean and bright.

What could be improved

Pre-appointment information - I didn't not receive anything other than an appointment letter. I had several tests and biopsies at my first appointment which I had not been expecting. A leaflet outlining what to expect, how long the appointment will take, when you can expect your results would be helpful.

Waiting for the appointment - the waiting system at the clinic only serves to increase anxiety. There is an initial waiting room, then a nurse calls people a few at a time, either to a second waiting area or to individual consulting rooms. On one occasion I waited on my own in the consulting room for over 10 minutes - this was to wait for results of my tests for cancer.

During the appointment - clinicians must properly introduce everyone in the room. At one appointment the consultant and three other staff were present. There did not seem to be an option of them not being there and it was unclear whether they were students. They did not introduce themselves and were not introduced by the consultant, but sat opposite me in a line which made me feel rather self conscious. Patient confidentiality could be compromised as the lower windows on the doors are not covered by blinds and the walls/doors are rather thin allowing people in the second waiting area to overhear consultations particularly if a patient is hard of hearing and the clinician has to raise their voice.

My experience of the breast clinic has been frustrating and sometimes distressing. Although the staff are generally pleasant, improvements could certainly be made so that patients feel less like they are inconveniencing staff.

Story from NHS Choices

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