"An outpatient Appointment"

About: Shotley Bridge Hospital Site / General medicine

(as the patient),

Went for an outpatient appointment at a local hospital after being referred internally from another department. Was told on reception desk that 'we don't have your referral letter' when I know it was faxed over from one department to another. They had the wrong phone number down for me. This is a piece of information that I have to tell them every time and the Trust never have it right. Receptionist overall was quite rude, brusque in dealing with me and told me they may not see me because of the referral letter. This is despite the fact I'd travelled over 10 miles to get to the hospital. The nurse that called me through also mentioned the fact that they hadn't got the referral letter and I might not be seen if they couldn't get hold of it. She also didn't know if I'd need to have any x rays because of the fact they didn't have my referral letter.

Eventually I was seen and it was agreed I could be seen at a more local hospital after having had an ultrasound scan.

Went back to reception. Stood in line. Person in front of me finished. I moved forward. Receptionist told me to go back to where I was and waved papers as she told me she hadn't finished dealing with the last patient. She then proceeded to have a personal conversation with another colleague about where they were going on holiday,about someone who was off sick and etc. When I was called forward, she claimed that she 'might have a problem' getting into the other hospital's appointment system (same trust, same team). Then she asked me quite loudly, if I was going to have an operation, and looked at me oddly when I said I didn't know. The next appointment was for a review after an ultrasound scan. Eventually got the appointment.

Left the hospital feeling very drained and not sure the struggle to get up there was worth it. I had got a renal infection at the time. This appointment was for another urgent issue that had cropped a few weeks before.

It is not the patient's fault if hospital systems don't work together. Phone numbers should have to be given only once. If you are in the same trust, then the data should be present across all systems. Reception areas should be more private or the questions less invasive. Why did she need to know whether I was having an operation or not? Also clear guidance should be given about professional behaviour when you are the front line of the hospital. To be honest, given this experience, I will refuse in future to be seen at this hospital.

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Response from Shotley Bridge Hospital Site

Thank you for providing feedback on your recent appointment at Shotley Bridge Hospital. I am sorry to hear of the difficulties you encountered during your visit and that you felt staff were "quite rude and brusque" when speaking to you. We would very much welcome the opportunity to discuss your concerns with you. If you feel this would be useful please contact the Trust’s Patient Experience Team on 0800 7835774. If you would prefer to contact us by e-mail, our address is patient.experience@cddft.nhs.uk Alternatively, you can write to us at the following address: - Patient Experience Team Darlington Memorial Hospital Hollyhurst Road Darlington County Durham DL3 6HX If you do decide to contact us, please make us aware that you have left comments on the NHS Choices website. The Trust is grateful for all feedback, positive or negative, as it means we can better understand what is important to our patients. Thank you for leaving your comments on NHS Choices. Patient Experience Team County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust Tel: 0800 7835774

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