"Big delays"

About: Royal Berkshire Hospital

What could be improved

Well I had to go back to the breast clinic as I had felt another problem after 2 surgeries and problems with the care I received 2 years ago, I was not looking forward to it.

Now, 2 years later I was finally seen 2 and a half hours after my appointment time (There had been no emergencies so there is really no excuse for this), I know the hospital had a new computer system, but really if people are to be kept waiting that long it is not ready for service, that wait is unacceptable (emergencies excepting). This meant that not only did I have to phone work and say I could not attend a meeting I was supposed to be at but when I did attend the clinic appointment they said that I would probably not be able to have a scan as it was too late in the day but to give it a go.

I did have a scan (they were great) and then when I returned to the breast clinic, my information was put in the tray of somebody who had left for the day, it was only because I noticed I had not seen that member of staff after an hour that I went to ask if she was returning, Oh no sorry we'll have to find some one else to see you came the reply once the admin asisstant had asked if the doctor was returning! Why did she not know?

Anything else?

Then just to finish it off, I received a copy of a letter to my doctors 3 weeks following the appointment saying I had been referred for a scan but had not had one - consequently I still do not know if the scan I had that day has been matched correctly to my records.

All in all unfortunately a very bad experience.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Royal Berkshire Hospital

Thank you for your feedback and we are sorry to hear that you have had a less than satisfactory experience. As you have mentioned, the hospital has installed a new patient management computer system which has caused a lot of disruption in the outpatient department. The system was installed during June this year and unfortunately has caused many delays in our outpatient clinics. The breast clinic has been particularly affected as patients are referred into this clinic by many different sources and are required to see several different heath care professionals during their visit with us. You have mentioned that there were no emergencies on the day that you had your appointment. While this is more than likely the case, the breast service sees patients within a very quick time frame, based on their needs and the clinic can be asked to see patients within a few days of referral. This does make a difference to the flow of patients and can sometimes cause delays. Other bottlenecks occur because many patients need to have multiple tests with results being fed back to them on the same day. If we have a lot of patients who need more time to discuss their concerns, then appointments can also be delayed. With all of this in mind we do send information letters out with our appointment letters for the breast clinics. These inform our patients that they may need to be in the hospital for at least half of the day to allow for tests and results etc.

It is clear that you experienced severe delays on the day of your appointment and we are really sorry for this. The sister in outpatients does try to keep everyone informed of delays; we are sorry if this did not happen. The reception staff are not always informed when the doctors leave clinic so they wouldn't have automatically known that the person you needed to see was no longer available. We are sorry that this took such a long time to register and sort out. It is really important to us that our patients have a positive experience when they use our services, so we are sorry that this was not the case for you. We are trying to rectify the delays and problems that have been caused by the installation of our new system and we know that given time, this system will improve the experience that we are able to offer our patients.

We would like to assure you that we take all comments regarding our services very seriously and all issues are fed back to our teams to help improve the way we work. We hope that if you have the need to use our services again, your experience will be a more positive one.

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