"Waiting times to see Dr in Haematology"

About: Cumberland Infirmary

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I was due to be seen as an outpatient at 12.10 pm on 4 March 2013. On arrival at 12.10 pm I asked how many patients were in front of me to be told by one nurse that I would have to wait 1.5 hours and then immediately by a second nurse that it would be closer to 2 hours. On 2 previous I have had to wait 1.25 and 1.5 hours but over 2 hours is completely unacceptable. I understand the practice is to book four patients into ten minute slots which result in patients being kept waiting for longer and longer as the day proceeds. I have withdrawn from treatment and gone back to my GP as I simply cannot afford to wait these ridiculous long delays when an appointment has been made for a set time.

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Response from Cumberland Infirmary

Firstly, thank you for getting in touch and we apologise that it has taken us sometime to respond. We have just changed the way we do this to improve and be more timely with our responses. We are sorry that your experience of our outpatients was not a good one but we were pleased to see that the staff did keep you informed of the likely waiting time. It is regrettable for anyone having to wait a long time for an appointment and we know how frustrating this can be. Sometimes our clinics are delayed because the clinicians have been called away for an emergency or a patient's examination has taken longer than expected. It is really important for us as an organisation to listen well to all the feedback we receive every year from patients and families – we know it allows us to pay proper attention to the things that really matter. This year we have invested a lot in a new patient experience programme to seek out the views of more than 10,000 patients. In the last recorded quarter (from September - November 2013), 94% of our outpatients were happy with the overall service they had received. We appreciate that this will be little comfort to you when you had been told you would have to wait so long. This is something our clinics are aware of and some are now changing practice to speed waiting times.

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