"This recent experience has left us feeling..."

About: Southend Hospital

What could be improved

Communiction to the patient rather than through the GP - whilst it is a positive step that the patient receives a letter following an outpatient's appt, the letters are never addressed to the patient, just a c.c. of a copy sent to the GP. Therefore the letters are written in medical terms, which the GP would understand, but not in 'lay man's' terms leaving the patient feeling incidental to the whole process and not understanding the contents of the letter.

Additionally, it seems to be assumed that the GP communicates with the patient following each letter from the hospital. This does not happen, leaving the patient and family alone, frightened and frustrated.

Anything else?

Complete lack of communication re timescales regarding future outpatient appointments following diagnostic tests. When manage to get an appointment, hospital are not adverse to ringing you up (more than once) trying to get you to agree to cancel the appt and wait another 4 months - starting to feel bullied.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Southend Hospital

Many thanks for your comments. The Department of Health instructed Trusts that good practice would be to send copies of letters to GPs to the patient for their reference. We do acknowledge that out of necessity they are often technical in nature as they are there to convey clinical information.

We appreciate that this can at times be unsettling for our patients and we are always happy for patients to contact our PALS team on 01702 385333 who can arrange for someone to answer any questions that they may have.

We are sorry that you feel staff were trying to get you to postpone an appointment. If you wish to discuss this further then again, our PALS team can help.

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