"Atrocious and disorganised for a simple colposcopy..."

About: The Whittington Hospital

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After having been automatically referred to a colposcopy procedure following some abnormal smear results, I was appalled by the following things with regards to booking an appointment at Whitting hospital for a simple procedure. In the end I never made it to the appointment and sought to be treated elsewhere instead: 1) I received my smear results, and expected a call or letter from Whittington with regards to confirmation of when my appointment will take place. I received no communication in the first two weeks. 2) In the second week, I get an automated service which asked me to confirm or ask for someone at the hospital to reschedule a given appointment they had allocated me. I chose for someone to call me back to reschedule as medically, colposcopies can only take place at certain individual times. I was expecting a call soon after that automated call. No call arrived. 3) I then get a text message from Whittington to confirm my appointment for the same day. I write them an email from the email address that was at the bottom of that text, telling them I was cancelling the appointment and that I was unhappy with the way Whittington Hospital had such a lack of care and organising something so simple and that I wished to cancel the appointment altogether and seek medical care elsewhere. I know you have many patients, however, this is clearly not an excuse when someone's health is on the line and you keep them waiting and stressing them out as a result! 4) I then have someone call me on the day of my appointment, barking down the phone about how I had missed my appointment. I then explain to her that I was firstly unhappy about the way they had not communicated anything to me to begin with, had written them an email with no response, and waited for a phone call from them to organise the colposcopy but to no avail!! They don't even have a contact number to call them back!! The worst thing was, she was the least bit apologetic about it and very patronising, going on about the number of patients they have. It was a pathetic attempt to justify their lack of organisation. Given my extremely painful and horrendous experiences with the smear (I fainted during the smear and blood pressure dropped), on top of which having abnormal results makes the stress of all this worse, I expected that atleast Whittington (with all their good reviews) would atleast live up to their name. Clearly their gynae and colposcopy department might not do so in my books. And if the experience of talking to someone on the phone was anything like having a colpo done with people like that, I would rather be broke and go private. I pay enough taxes to fund the NHS, and have been to excellent NHS hospitals that take care of you. Won't be wanting to make any appointments in Whittington in future based on what has happened.

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Response from The Whittington Hospital

I am so sorry to hear the difficulties you experienced in booking and cancelling your appointment and that we did not as a Trust provide a personalised approach to you at an understandably stressful time. The way the member of staff responded to you was not acceptable and I am so sorry that she was not apologetic. I have forwarded your feedback to the department for their reflection and learning. We do not want others to have the same experience as you have had. If you would like to talk through your experience further or recieve a response about what we have learned from your concerns please do not hesitate to contact me on cassie.williams@nhs.net or by phone on 020 7288 3113 and I would be happy to arrange that for you. Yours sincerely Cassie Williams Head of Patient Experience

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