"I have just spoken to my daughter, ..."

About: William Harvey Hospital

(as the patient),

What could be improved

I have just spoken to my daughter, who had to make her way with her 16 month old baby, to the William Harvey Hospital for an appointment regarding a squint in one of his eyes. This journey meant a 10 minute walk to Folkestone Central station with a push chair, a 20 minute train journey and a 30 minute bus ride. The bus had no facilities for mothers and push chairs, which is a heavy, sturdy variety, because she has no car and has to walk everywhere. My daughter then had to struggle with a heavy toddler and push chair on to a bus with no facilities, an impatient bus driver and no assistance on to the bus.

On arrival at the hospital, she was informed that appointments were 1 1/2 hours behind, and the waiting area was standing room only. Luckily they waited one hour, and after a preliminary examination, it was decided that they did not have to wait to see the consultant, but another appointment should be made for six months time.

Then they had to make the same journey back to Folkestone, but luckily on this occasion an elderly couple helped her on to the bus. I am in bed with a chest and ear infection, but feel my daughter was abandoned, like so many others who have to make the trek to William Harvey Hospital.

Is this the sort of treatment which we should be expecting? No local consultant is available, even periodically, to see patients locally. The transport facilities to the hospital are inadequate, unless you possess a car. The waiting times for mothers with babies are too long, when they finally make it to the hospital. Isn't it time to think hard and fast about what has been going on in the structure of healthcare, which has become reliant on patients travelling long distances in cars? Isn't it time to reverse the trend, when we know that every car journey contributes to global warming and health issues? What we have now is a two tier health system - those who have easy access, and then those who travel long distances without personal transport for consultations.

Story from NHS Choices

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