"Waiting Time in Orthopaedic Out Patients @ NGH"

About: Northern General Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as a relative),

In the last 3 years I have had to regularly attend Orthopaedic Out Patient clinics on Friday mornings at Northern General Hospital. Most times a nurse will announce that "Mr .....'s clinic is running 1 hour late". When I asked once why I was told that the consultant should have started at 9:00 a.m but didn't start until 10:00. I thought that he should have apologised to us and not leave it to a nurse

This 1 hour delay has become the norm but on one occasion my waiting time was 2 hours. When I spoke to the Consultant he said it was because preference had to be given to patients travelling by ambulance but that his clinic was also heavily overbooked because of referrals from other hospitals and the need to achieve waiting time targets for first out patient appointments.

If a clinic regularly overshoots by an hour every week, surely this should be taken into account in planning how many patients can reasonably be seen and realistic appointment times given. If more patients are booked than can be seen then perhaps the clinic should be split into two, or run for longer. Either way this is poorly managed and it is patients who pay the price.

I would like to see patients compensated at National Minimum Wage levels for every half hour they are delayed seeing the doctor. This could be reported to the Trust Board in monthly budget reports and as a result some incentive could be provided to recognise that patients' time can also be valuable and efforts made to not waste it.

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