"Very good care but admin and basics could be..."

About: University College Hospital

What I liked

First rate care as always. I cannot fault the care I have been given and trust them with my life.

What could be improved

It used to be the case that a text message was sent to your mobile phone a week in advance to remind of the appointment. I found this immensely helpful as I could look back at the text and check the appointment date and time leading up to the day.

Now this no longer happens and phone calls are made instead. The calls were nothing short of harrassment. Several calls were made to my home telephone and as I work long hours, I am not there and this my partner to inconvenience to be telephoned non stop only to be flatly told that they can't talk to him as he isn't the patient. I had telephone calls to my mobile telephone several times over two days and as I am at work, I can't answer it. Then there is the charade of trying to telephone back, write down the reference code you're given and confirm you are coming. After going through all of this, I still didn't have a reminder on my phone of the appt date and time as there are no texts now. Please go back to sending texts as these calls just aren't convenient.

Anything else?

The nurse who took my blood pressure and weight prior to my outpatient appointment answered her mobile phone as soon as we got into the room. It was obviously a personal call and she talked in her own language throughout the whole period, only stopping to ask me to read out my own blood pressure and weight for her convenience so she could write it down without getting up or disrupting her personal phone call. After my weight and blood pressure were taken she just ignored me until she finished her call while I wondered what to do & whether I should just go to the waiting room.

This is very unprofessional and quite discourteous to patients. Not to mention the potential for errors in asking the patient to read out results for you.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from University College Hospital

Thank you for your feedback and your comments on the first rate care you received.

I was sorry to read that you found the new telephone patient reminder service difficult to use. We have recently trialled this new system to improve patient attendances. Patient non attendance is a drain on NHS resources and public funds. We accept that during this time there will be some teething problems, but we hope the benefits in reduced waiting times for patients will out way this. You do have the option to opt out of this process by providing you hospital details, however this will mean that you will not receive a text message reminder either. In order to maintain patient confidentiality it is hospital policy not to talk to anyone other than the patient and to use an identifying reference for each patient.

We are sorry you had a poor experience when having your blood pressure taken. We agree that using a mobile telephone whilst working is unprofessional and staff have been informed not to use mobile telephones whilst on duty. I aplogise for your experience and I would encourage you to raise your concerns with a senior member of the department should this occur again.

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