"St THOMAS' Hospital Gastroenterology Dept: sterling example of disorganisation"

About: St Thomas' Hospital / Gastroenterology

(as the patient),

I had been waiting desperately for several months to see a named specialist. I made it absolutely clear to my GP I wanted this individual and no one else. I was sent an appointment to see this named specialist.

I arrived today in good time at Gassiot House. The layout is very confusing with areas labelled A, B and C and no explanation as to what each area denotes. I sought clarification from a disinterested receptionist for whom it was clearly an effort to even make eye contact with me. This person said they 'did'nt know' which section I should wait in. Some of the signs on the screens pointing to rooms actually point in the wrong direction.

The board indicated that the clinic was half an hour late, but after half an hour I'd not been called. The board displays names of those who should proceed to an appointment, but there is no sound to indicate a new name has appeared. So you cannot do work or read while you waste your time sitting there - you have to keep staring at the board in case you miss your name.

An hour later my name appeared and I proceeded to a room where a young Dr told me "Mr X is not here today". I asked why no one had written to tell me, to which he replied "it's not my job to write to you". What a shameful attitude for the next generation of doctors, who think the title bestows them with some sort of quality that makes them superior to their patients. He was unable to tell me why I had been given an appointment on a day my specialist was not there, or when I would indeed be given an appointment. I found his interpersonal skills severely lacking.

Indeed while wasting an hour in the waiting room a fellow patient told me she had found a consultant rude, so it would seem this is the culture in the Gastroenterology Dept.

I feel my health has been mismanaged for decades by the NHS including a misdiagnosis several years ago of a debilitating gastric condition. Therefore I asked for this specialist for a reason - his reputation. Why does the NHS think I would settle for someone else whose credentials I know nothing about?

NHS time is not more valuable than that of the taxpayers who fund it. I am a busy professional who wasted half a working day for an appointment that never materialised. The appointment letter was schoolmistress like in warning me not to be late, not to cancel without notice etc. What about my time and my health?

Today just illustrated once again the lack of accountability that typifies every aspect of the broken NHS machine I have experienced which results in endless frustrations that are endured by taxpayers such as myself.

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Response from St Thomas' Hospital

We are very sorry that you were unhappy with the treatment you received in the gastroenterology department. This matter is now being investigated as a formal complaint. However, if you have any concerns in the meantime, please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 020 7188 8801 or email pals@gstt.nhs.uk.

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