"Anticoagulant clinic at Ormskirk felt like a cattle market"
About: Ormskirk & District General Hospital Ormskirk & District General Hospital
Posted by B J N (as ),
I my sister and I attended the anticoagulant clinic at Ormskirk with our 92 year old mother who suffers dementia. We have done so before but this most recent visit was by far the worst experience yet. Our immediate reaction on entering the clinic was that it resembled a cattle market. The place was packed. The seating is very close together and it was hot and noisy.
After booking in we had to sit and wait for my mother's name to be called for her to go into the first room for the thumb-prick blood test. Because of the noise it was difficult to hear. We only waited a matter of minutes; her name was called by the nurse; so far so good. The blood test took less than a minute; then we were ushered out to the waiting area again with no indication at all of how long the next wait would be.
It turned out to be a wait of 1 hour 20 minutes. During this time we could not leave the waiting area to get any refreshment for fear of missing our turn; there were no magazines to read and it continued to be hot and noisy. The worst part was straining every time a name was called to see if it was my mother's.
The doctor calling the names was sitting on the far side of her room at her computer; she called the next name without looking up and the experience was far from patient friendly. It was most undignified.
When we did eventually get to see the doctor for the result, we were with her again for less than a minute. We then had to queue at the reception desk again to get the next appointment to go through the whole humiliating experience again.
The total contact time with a nurse or doctor was no more than 2 minutes, yet we were in the clinic for over 2 hours.
Surely there must be a better system! I understand the machine which tests the blood gives an immediate result; so why can the doctor not sit in the same room and speak to the patient immediately after the blood has been taken, rather than the herding around from one room to another with a ridiculously long wait in between?
And if this is not possible, then at least can a more civilised way of calling patients not be found? A nurse standing at a door and yelling to make herself heard is neither civilised nor polite. Many of the people attending the clinic are, like my mother old, disabled and hard of hearing. Our general feeling was that we were just bodies being shunted around and there was a distinct lack of respect.
The doctor, when we finally got to see her, commented factually that we had had a long wait - but there was no apology forthcoming. It was just a statement of fact; one that we already knew. There must be a better way of running this vital service.