When Communication Works Well #PooleHospital


 

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I went along to Poole Hospital at the beginning of the week with my husband for an outpatient’s appointment.

On arrival in the Blue Clinic we were met by a lovely friendly volunteer who was eager to show us how to use the self-service booking system. She talked us through it chatting away whilst she was booking him in. Her lovely friendly nature was a breath of fresh air and it was obvious that she enjoyed being there. She then took us to the area we needed to be ready for our appointment.

The TV screen in the department gave out useful information as well as informing us that the clinic was running a bit late – this was extremely useful as it allowed my husband to pop off to the toilet without worrying that he might miss being called in for his appointment.

After a short while a healthcare assistant came out to apologise for the delay and she told us how many people were in front of us (we only had one other person before us) She went around everyone else in the department informing them of the same.

When his appointment came we were had a lovely welcome from the consultant together with a handshake, smile and great eye contact. The consultation wasn’t rushed, we had plenty of opportunities to ask questions and everything we needed to know was covered. Everything was explained in full details and in a way that we could understand.

We were in the department no more than about 45 minutes from arriving to leaving. It was a brilliant service and the most impressive thing was the communication, it was excellent and this must be so useful for people who perhaps are unsure, or somewhat confused at a being in such a large department.

We were both very impressed with our overall visit. Well done Poole Hospital, your staff, volunteers and communication was excellent.

 

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A day in the life of a GP #The Huffington Post


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I would like to share an amazing article written by Dr Zoe Norris. (please click on the link below to read the full article)

Dr Norris has written about a typical day in her surgery as a GP. From the lack of appointments, to home visits. By 8.10 in the morning she already has 20 patients waiting on her phoning them back as well as arranging care for a dying patient. High blood pressure, chest pains, queries on patients prescriptions, reviewing blood results, letters and minutes of meetings to read are just a fraction of what she is dealing with on a day-to-day basis.

For those working as a GP, Nurse, Manager or a Receptionist will identify on too well with what a GP is expected to deal with.

For those that have not had the experience working within a busy GP Surgery it will enlighten you to the very busy day that a Doctor faces on a daily basis. A GP does far more that just “seeing” patients in surgery.

What does come through from her article is that she is a human being, with feelings who is trying her utmost to be there for her patients . But everyone has their limit!

Sadly Dr Norris is not alone – many GP face similar days.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dr-zoe-norris/nhs-frontline-the-reality_b_6279784.html

 

Sending out Letters to Patients


I had a frantic phone call one Friday evening from a good friend – she was in a right panic. She had received a letter from her Surgery (not the one that I worked at) asking her to make an appointment to see the Doctor regarding her recent smear test.

She didn’t know what to do; she had in previous years had abnormal smear results and of course was now thinking the worse.

I tried my best to console her – but she had made her mind up – she convinced herself that the Doctor was calling her in to tell her she had cancer.

As you can imagine she had a very stressful and sleepless weekend.

Monday morning came and she rang the Surgery – at first she was told that there were not appointments that day – but she insisted on seeing the Doctor.

Her appointment was for 11.00 – she was at the surgery at 10.00 – she sat and waited – she was called in to see the Doctor for him to tell her that the smear had not been taken correctly and it would need to be repeated. That was it – it needed to be repeated – more than likely the nurse may  not have taken it correctly.

To say she was over the moon was an understatement. But the worry she went through that weekend was awful.

So, it got me thinking – how many other people received letters at the weekend that could cause worry and concerns – having to wait until Monday morning before speaking to a Health Care Professional? Probably quite a few I should imagine.

So, I spoke to the Partners at our next staff meeting and we all agreed that such letters that were not urgent and could cause concern to patients or their families would be posted on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, hopefully arriving before the weekend and if the patient was concerned at all they could phone or make an appointment to speak to or see a Doctor

If there was an urgent letter that needed to go out on either the Thursday or Friday and the Doctors felt it might cause some concerns one of the Doctors would phone and explain the letter was on its way and if the patient had any concerns they would try to answer their questions.

True Story

I recently spoke to a mum who young son was having various tests done at her local hospital. She received a telephone call from the consultant at 7.30 on a Friday evening asking her how her son was – he asked her if he had got any worse, he asked if he had been with any cattle she was a bit alarmed at the call. He asked her to bring him in again on the Monday for some more blood tests. She admitted that she was a bit concerned – more blood test – but put it to the back of her mind for the weekend. Her and her son had a fun packed weekend which she said was one of the best.

She went with her mum to see the Consultant on the Monday they he gave them the devastating news that her son had cancer – the consultant had known that on the Friday when he spoke to her.

This consultant had given this thought – he wanted to spare her the heartache for a few more days – he knew by telling her the news on the Friday that her world would come crashing down – he knew she was on her own at the time – he spared that until he had her face to face and could go through the options and treatment for her little boy. This is something she is eternally grateful to that Consultant for.

It’s not what we do but how we do it that can have such a big impact on people.

 

Does your Practice send out recall letters on a Friday so the patients will receive them on a Saturday?

Me – the patient


If you have been following my blog you will know that I am passionate about

  • Customer care
  •  communication and
  • Team work

It is vital in any job that you are doing when working with the general public.

When I am out I love to ‘people watch’. It might be in a restaurant, a shop, on a bus or train or in an  Airport – I love to watch how people react and how good people are at giving a good service.

So, it was no different when I had to go into hospital recently for a day procedure – a colonoscopy.

Let me take you through my day and the build up to it and see if you feel that I had “good customer / patient care”.

It started 3 weeks ago when I had to phone the consultants secretary to see if she had received my referral as I had not heard anything –  I phoned 2 times and left 2 messages before she phoned back and confirmed that she had in fact received the letter from my GP and went on to give me a date for my procedure.  I did not find her very helpful and found myself apologising for phoning and bothering her! Why did I feel I needed to do that?

She said that they would phone me the day before to let me know what time I have to book in for my procedure.

It got to 2.30 the Friday before my procedure and I had to phone to see what time they wanted me in – the secretary still did not know – but did phone me back at 4.30 and confirmed that I have to be in for 10.30 the following Monday. Still appeared to be cold and uncaring.

The day before my procedure I had to starve from 08.00 – that was pretty hard going I must say as everywhere I looked there was food being advertised. On the telly, in magazines and every social network that I looked on everyone was talking about the wonderful roast dinners they were about to have. It was a tough day.

I woke up the next morning feeling pretty awful – I had one almighty headache and was sick – perhaps a combination of not eating and taking medication the day before.

I arrived at the hospital at 10.15. I reported at the front desk giving my name and the name of the consultant that I was seeing that day. The receptionist said that I needed to have an ultrasound and would I please go to the 2nd floor.

I went up to the 2nd floor – I went to the nurses’ station. The nurses were obviously busy and flying backwards and forwards – one stopped and asked if she could help me – I said that I had been sent up for an ultrasound – she asked my name and  pointed me towards the waiting area asking me to take a seat. There were 3 other people waiting there too. One by one they went in –  a nurse came along and asked my name – again. I gave it to her and she said that they would be long before someone would call me. The third person went in – and then two more people came into the waiting room. Another nurse came along and asked my name again, the two people who came in after me went in. An hour after I have arrived I was still sitting – feeling quite unwell.

Then a nurse came along and asked my name – for the 4th time! She asked me to go back down to the reception desk. No explanation given.

So, I went back down to the main desk – there was a woman (I now know was a secretary) who promptly said “oh there you are – I had to come down to see if you have arrived”.  No introduction to who she was – no name badge that I could see for myself who she was – but was just ordered to “follow me”.

We then went back up to the 2nd floor – and into a different area – I was asked to take a seat and then was called in for my ultrasound. Up to this point I had no idea where I was going or why. I explained to the secretary that I had in fact been in the hospital for over an hour at this point – but no apologies to the fact that I had been sent to the wrong department in the first place. No conversation – just left sat in silence.

Then, after the ultrasound was done I was asked to go BACK down to the main reception desk and report in there. So, off I went.

Got to the ground floor, the receptionist ticked me off ‘her list’ and I was asked to go to the patients waiting room on the lower level. So off I trotted again. At this point I was getting to know the hospital very well.

I waited 5 minutes and was called  – I booked in and was asked to report to the nursing station on the 2nd floor.

So off I went to the 2nd floor again – getting to know this area pretty well at this point – and reported to the nurses’ station – for the second time that morning.

A nurse took me along to the ward and asked me to get ready and pop myself into bed – she then came along and took my blood pressure and gave me an ECG – how on earth they were not both through the roof at this point still amazes me. I certainly felt pretty stressful.

I waited, and I waited – many had already gone down to have their procedure or had already had it done back up and eating tea and toast – and I waited and I waited – nothing – no one came to tell me anything.

Eventually I was taken down – it was about 4.00. I actually have visions at this point of being told they had run out of time and I would have to come back. I wonder if they have ever had a “sit in” from a patient before – because I certainly was going through this again in a hurry. I vowed I would have stayed there until they had done it come hell or high water.

I came back up from my procedure – I should have been left to rest for an hour – but after half an hour the tea and toast was there in front of me. Not that I was complaining at this point – and boy it tastes as good as those roast dinners people were talking about the previous day. If not better.

I looked around – I was the last one in the ward – the nurse then came up and asked who was picking me up – I told her my husband – she asked me to call him which I did.

The cleaners then started coming in the ward clearing up around me – I really felt like I was in the way.

5.30 came and my husband arrived to pick me up.

I was never so pleased to see him and be going home.

I was more than happy with the procedure and the consultant, but I did feel that communication, and patient care could have been a lot better and perhaps prevented me from feeling so very drained and stressed from it all.

Did I really need to go to all of the different places to book in? Had I gone to the lower ground floor first and booked in then on to the 2nd floor that is where the ultra sound and day ward was – why send patients up and down all over the place.

As a manager I certainly would be looking for a more stress free way of admitting patients into the hospital.

There certainly was a lack of communication, and in areas lack of team work – no one knew what the other teams/departments was doing – something that really needs addressing.

And to top it all this was a private hospital – somehow you would expect a slightly better service that what I got.

Sending out Letters to Patients


I had a frantic phone call one Friday evening from a good friend – she was in a right panic. She had received a letter from her Surgery (not the one that I worked at) asking her to make an appointment to see the Doctor regarding her recent smear test.

She didn’t know what to do; she had in previous years had abnormal smear results and of course was now thinking the worse.

I tried my best to console her – but she had made her mind up – she convinced herself that the Doctor was calling her in to tell her she had cancer.

As you can imagine she had a very stressful and sleepless weekend.

Monday morning came and she rang the Surgery – at first she was told that there were not appointments that day – but she insisted on seeing the Doctor.

Her appointment was for 11.00 – she was at the surgery at 10.00 – she sat and waited – she was called in to see the Doctor for him to tell her that the smear had not been taken correctly and it would need to be repeated. That was it – it needed to be repeated – more than likely the nurse may  not have taken it correctly.

To say she was over the moon was an understatement. But the worry she went through that weekend was awful.

So, it got me thinking – how many other people received letters at the weekend that could cause worry and concerns – having to wait until Monday morning before speaking to a Health Care Professional? Probably quite a few I should imagine.

So, I spoke to the Partners at our next staff meeting and we all agreed that such letters that were not urgent and could cause concern to patients or their families would be posted on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, hopefully arriving before the weekend and if the patient was concerned at all they could phone or make an appointment to speak to or see a Doctor

If there was an urgent letter that needed to go out on either the Thursday or Friday and the Doctors felt it might cause some concerns one of the Doctors would phone and explain the letter was on its way and if the patient had any concerns they would try to answer their questions.

True Story

I recently spoke to a mum who young son was having various tests done at her local hospital. She received a telephone call from the consultant at 7.30 on a Friday evening asking her how her son was – he asked her if he had got any worse, he asked if he had been with any cattle she was a bit alarmed at the call. He asked her to bring him in again on the Monday for some more blood tests. She admitted that she was a bit concerned – more blood test – but put it to the back of her mind for the weekend. Her and her son had a fun packed weekend which she said was one of the best.

She went with her mum to see the Consultant on the Monday they he gave them the devastating news that her son had cancer – the consultant had known that on the Friday when he spoke to her.

This consultant had given this thought – he wanted to spare her the heartache for a few more days – he knew by telling her the news on the Friday that her world would come crashing down – he knew she was on her own at the time – he spared that until he had her face to face and could go through the options and treatment for her little boy. This is something she is eternally grateful to that Consultant for.

It’s not what we do but how we do it that can have such a bit impact on people.

 

Does your Practice send out recall letters on a Friday so the patients will receive them on a Saturday?

The “Stick It” and My Credit Card


I had an appointment today to see a consultant – It was a private appointment – something that I had to get sorted sooner rather than later and going private was my best option.

The hospital was small the staff very friendly. The consultant went through everything and his secretary gave me a date for my operation – 2 weeks time.

Armed with all the necessary paperwork I headed over the Bookings Office. The clerk took all my details, and asked for an initial payment of 125.00.

I gave her my credit card – she then said that payment would not be taken until the day of the operation.

She reached for a “stick it” and promptly wrote all my credit card details down on this little piece of sticky paper. But why not put it on a proper form to be added inside my file.

My heart sank – although I use “stick its” a lot – I certainly would not have used it in this instance. I didn’t feel happy about leaving my credit card details on this loose sticky piece of paper. I was actually gob smacked that this method was used in taking all my details
of my credit card.  My thoughts went to my blog on “Taking a Message” http://wp.me/p1zPRQ-54 dated 20.7.11

In the blog I actually advised against using such a thing for the taking of messages or anything of importance – and to me my credit card was certainly important. This piece of sticky paper so easily could be lost with all my details on it.

Quick thinking – I spoke up and said that in fact I would prefer to pay by a cheque – which I did – and thankfully the small sticky piece of paper was torn up by the clerk.

What are your thoughts on taking messages on “stick its” do you think it is a safe enough?