"Outpatients department and dignity"

About: Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I arrived for my appointment about my left hip on time and booked in. I was told I needed an xray and had that done. I was then given a hip pain score sheet to complete, which I did, for my left hip.

After 10 minutes I was called into a consulting room by a lady I didn't recognise who was dressed in ordinary clothes, not uniform. I assumed she was a consultant or registrar.

She told me my hip score for my right hip was very good, and asked if it was OK. (I had a total replacement three years ago.) I said yes, but my hip score was for my left hip, which was why I was at the hospital. I then asked who she was, and she said she was a nurse practitioner.

After that I returned to the waiting room and was soon called to a different room to meet the consultant.

I sat in the room for 35 minutes. The nurses around the room walked past many times but gave no explanation of why I was waiting. The consultant walked past several times and did not say anything, just looked in. When I asked how long it would be because I had an appointment elsewhere, the nurse and (previous) nurse practitioner looked at me as if I had fallen off Mars and had asked a question that simply was not allowed. The nurse said I would be next.

The consultant emerged after another 5 minutes and told the nurse - not me - that he had to see someone else elsewhere, and walked past me again.

After another 5 minutes the consultant came in and was very good and helpful etc. But no apology for keeping me waiting, or even explanation of why.

So three issues.

The first nurse should have explained that the hip score sheet was for my previously replaced hip but clearly had not thought to do so, even though my appointment was about my left hip.

The nurse practitioner should have told me who she was. Patients do have a right to dignity and respect and that includes knowing who is talking to you and why.

The staff, at all levels, should inform patients about delays, and talk to them in a polite way. The culture that day was very much that I did not have a right to information or to ask about the appointment process and waiting times.

Oh and an apology would go a long way.

I was told many months ago via Patient Opinion that patients would soon be informed of appointment times and delays on screens in the hospital, following completion of a new building project. This has not happened, and I wonder when it will.

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Responses

Response from Patient Advice and Liason Officer, Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic and District Hospital NHS Trust

Thank you for your feed back regarding your experience in the outpatient department recently. The Hospital would like to apologise that you found your recent experience unsatisfactory. The Outpatient Senior Nurse has spoken to clinic staff about the importance of keeping patients informed of any delays and introducing themselves to patients. She has discussed this with the whole team including both nursing and medical staff. The Outpatient Senior Nurse is also reviewing the service in outpatients to identify where further improvements could be made. With regard to the implementation of patient calling screens, the Trust is working towards delivering this service by May/June 2013.

Please contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) Office on 01691 404606 or email pals. office@rjah. nhs. uk if you would like this to be looked into further”.