"Very poor customer service"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Cardiology Lincoln County Hospital / Cardiology

(as the patient),

I had a heart attack in early March and was treated at Lincoln Hospital where a stent was fitted. I left Lincoln 2 days later to travel back home to Redhill. The following week I saw my GP who faxed a referral to East Surrey 48 hours later. I contacted East Surrey 3 days after the fax had been sent and they denied receiving any referral. I went back to my GP who confirmed it was sent. I again contacted ES the following day and received the same denial. I contacted them again the next day and yes they did have it and confirmed it had arrived 5 days previously by fax?! I asked when my appointment would be and they did not know. I have contacted repeatedly nearly every day to find out when my appointment is. Lincoln Hospital offered me one within 2 weeks and I assumed that ES would perform in a similar timely way. Not a chance!

Today, I have had verbal acknowledgement that the referral has been received and has been to a consultant and is back at 'bookings' to be allocated an appointment. Your telephonist could not/would not tell me when the appointment is except to confirm that it will be within a month of the referral, so in other words within less than two weeks from now.

Personally, I am emotionally distraught at not knowing why I had the heart attack and I am told I need to see a specialist who will be able to tell me why. From a taxpayer perspective, I cannot understand why you have taken so long to just allocate an appointment for me (noting that this is not yet received) when there is a 10% chance of a complication happening in the first few months with the treatment I have had.

If I am unfortunate to have a problem in the short term then you will be forced to react to an emergency instead of proactively handling remedial actions in a considered and economical manner. This is not to mention the risk you are putting me under as well as the additional emotional stress. Please can you explain why this scenario above has happened and what measures you are taking to ensure this poor performance is improved to that expected in a modern society.

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Response from Susan Aitkenhead, Chief Nurse, Executive Team, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Bramble Daddy

I am sorry to hear of your feedback. If you can forward your details to me I will ensure that someone gets in touch with you to sort this out. I can be contacted at susan.aitkenhead@sash.nhs.uk

Kind Regards

Susan Aitkenhead

Chief Nurse

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