"Long wait to be checked in at Derriford"

About: Derriford Hospital / General surgery Sentinel Healthcare Southwest Community Interest Company / Referral & Appointment Booking Team

(as the patient),

After two recent visits to my GP I was given a flyer which advised that i would be contacted within 5 working days with a hospital appointment.

On the first occasion i had no response so on the sixth day i called and left a message on the voicemail which was responded to on the following day, i just wonder if i would have been contacted without my call being made.

On the second occasion the response was almost instant, just after i had returned home, so maybe the first experience was just a blip !

I was referred by my GP recently to the Surgical Assessment Unit at Derriford Hospital Plymouth. Upon arrival i was asked to take a seat in the waiting area. After almost two hours i was ''checked in'' by a nurse and then i waited a further 4 hours before i was seen by a junior doctor.

I was in a lot of pain and discomfort. There seemed to be several hospital staff around the nurses' station desk but very little movement of patients being called. There were only four patients in total in the waiting area so i was disappointed at the lack of interest shown to us. It would have been helpful if someone came over and advised us how long we were likely to have to wait.

There was a general information notice on the waiting room wall explaining the routine but no indication about how long this could all take.

After a wait of six & a half hours i was called forward, from here on i have to say that all the staff who dealt with me were first class. The care and kindness they gave me was excellent - what a pity about the ''check in'' procedure.

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Response from Sentinel Healthcare

Dear littlejan

Thank you for taking the time to post your opinion. The Sentinel team aim to contact all patients initially within 5 days of receiving your referral letter which is sent to us electronically through the computer system from your GP practice. This allows GPs time to type and attach the information.

I am sorry to hear that you experienced a delay on your first contact with the service and we would be keen to investigate what caused your delay. Would you mind contacting us to give more details so we can look into what went wrong? Its reassuring to read of your second referral which is what we would strive to achieve for every patient.

Your experience of the appointment is understandably frustrating and disappointing. We will send your feedback to the Surgical Assessment Unit at Derriford Hospital as your views can help in improving the service for future patients. I’m sorry to read this was an uncomfortable experience for you but your suggestions to improve the service are important and this is why patient feedback is so important to help shape services for the future.

Thank you for also noting the positive points of your experience this will also be forwarded to the staff as your final paragraph was lovely to read and very reassuring.

The next step for us will be to get your opinion to the right people at the hospital in order for them to influence a change. Your feedback can truly make a difference, thank you again for telling your story.

Best wishes


on behalf of the Sentinel team

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