"King's college - waited over 2 hours to be told consultant had gone home"
About: King's College Hospital (Denmark Hill) King's College Hospital (Denmark Hill) London SE5 9RS
Posted by Waarheid (as ),
An appointment scheduled for March was put back a whole month with no explanation, so naturally I was anxious to see my consultant to progress my complex health issues.
I previously reported on service problems at this hospital in terms of a shambolic pre-op assessment, use of drugs without patient consent, and the cancellation of another appointment 1 day beforehand.
I took time out of my busy working day to arrive in good time for the appointment today. The board indicated he was running 2 hours behind - I consoled myself with the fact that at least I would see him at some stage.
I had fought long and hard to be referred to him and actually had to pay to see him privately first, then change NHS GPs 3 times before I could find one who would refer me. All in all it took over a year to get this far, all the time managing my chronic health issues myself.
Close to 6 pm I noticed him leaving the area and I was called by someone else who didn't know how to pronounce my name. I explained there must be a mistake, that I was there to see Mr X. To which I was told he had gone home. This person seemed to think I would be content with seeing him - someone else with no knowledge of my issues and without the specific expertise for which I had selected Mr X.
If my appointment is with Mr X, I want to see Mr X.
The arrogance and disrespect towards taxpayers is truly astounding. Sure I wish I had private medical, but I do not and I am a taxpayer who funds the NHS against my will. So I am entitled to an adequate level service from the broken-down machine in which failure is like a contagious disease that permeates every aspect of the NHS.
This individual told me I should come back one day next week, tell the receptionist what had happened, and then she should be able to arrange to squeeze me in, if he was there.
I nearly burst a blood vessel there and then. Good thing I did not, or I probably would have had to write a report on service failures in A and E as well.
So I was left with a missed appointment, a wasted afternoon, no apology, no confirmation (ie written evidence) of another appointment, and told to turn up and that I may see him, but it could be guaranteed.
Truly disgraceful. This person didn't even give me a name and seem annoyed when I asked them to identify themselves.
I recently identified a pattern of this service failure in the NHS when I wasted a morning waiting to see a consultant at St Thomas's to be told my consultant was on holiday.
It seems that second class citizens like me are fobbed off with whoever is available - even when we have fought long and hard to see a named consultant on the basis of their expertise. In fact, a staff member at Chelsea and Westminster told me only private patients were guaranteed to see a consultant of their choice, the rest of us had to make to with registrars.
What irritates me the most is that I have to explain this to my employer; it happens so often they just don't believe me when I tell them I took half a day off work and still didn't have my appointment.
Those inane school mistress-type letters that the NHS sends out telling me not to be late, to cancel in good time, etc irks me more than anything. Can you not extend us taxpayers the same courtesy?
I am going to take pleasure in arranging another appointment and not turning up - see how you like it.
I've decided to take out a loan and see a private specialist because I cannot take this anymore, I've had enough. Perhaps that is the whole intention of this game, to make us so fed up we go elsewhere. One less for the NHS to deal with.
Why put so many patients on a consultant's list that he cannot work through them? I know, it's to help with massaging statistics and meeting targets - even though the service is appalling, indeed there was no service in my case - but you can tick all those lovely boxes that show 24 people were 'seen' by Mr X today.
Words cannot express my anger. I am truly outraged.