How can you be 50 mins late for your clinic?(90 Posts)
I took my dd to be weighed at the health visitor clinic today and was informed by the assistant that she was running late. Fine, I thought and settled down with the other 5 mums in the waiting room. My daughter has just turned 7 months and started solids, so life is a bit confusing re hunger and nap times, but she was in a fine mood at arrival. The health visitor didn't arrive until 50 mins after the start time! I am annoyed largely because this is not the first time this has happened, 2 previous appointments ran 45 mins + late.
I know really I know that times are tough and they are stretched, but I really feel this is part of a wider attitude of 'Mums with babies have nothing better to do.' If my doctors' practice were this late, there would be a room of very loud complainers that would be more listened to I'm sure...
I did phone the lead HV and complain and she said this HV had just got back from maternity and didn't know the clinic times. God could someone have told her? 6 mums waiting for nearly an hour for her royal highness HV.... grrr.....
I have a friend who has a clinic in one hospital in which their last appointment (a 30 minute slot) starts at 12:30pm.
Their next clinic starts at 1:30pm.
The only snag - the hospitals are 40 minutes apart by car and that is assuming that there is no traffic and you get parked straight away.
She has been asking the management team for months to either change the day of one of the clinics or change the times. They don't do it so she is always late to start her afternoon clinic and it is massively stressful for her (as well as the patients no doubt).
Yesterday i was anaesthetising for a very complex case in the angiography suite. The 'operating' cardiologist was meant to be in clinic. He wasn't because the patient would have died without his specialist intervention. It is highly unlikely the patients in clinic were going to die due to having to wait an extra 60 minutes. Inconvenienced - yes. Life threatening - no.
Worked in HNS for many years including mw and HV plus did a stint in clinic.
Being late / running late is unavoidable but good communication, an apology and an explanation once seen can go a long way and should not be too much to ask as a patient.
I had a doctor who always ran late, it was a bit frustrating sitting in a waiting room for what felt like forever but it was because he gave each patient however much time they needed rather than clock watching and hurrying someone out. Better to have someone running late due to work than someone who walks out at the set time no matter what
I do think an explanation helps and an indication of the waiting time. I have a routine hospital appointment (screening for a condition) every year. It often runs late but that is usually because the consultant is held up in theatre or similar (I just take a book and treat it as a bit of me time). Another appt we were told when we arrived that the consultant was running 1hr late so I went out and had coffee in a nearby cafe and wandered back 45 mins later.
My hospital does send text reminders and I think its a great idea.
I'm a health care professional too (hopefully a dedicated and thorough one) .
I have collegues who run on time all the time because they point blank refuse to see anyone who is late. For whatever reason.
I always give someone the benefit the first time they are late but will say that they might not be seen.
Amazing how many patients get really and say "Well I'm frequently kept waiting".
I'm not sitting there supping tea. I'm in a hour before my first appointment to get everything ready.
I often have a day with extra paperwork because it wasn't done previously (by collegues )
Every day I'm juggling time. I'd love to run on time. I'd love to have a full lunchbreak. Should I just start saying "No. 10 minutes late. Not seeing you"?
But when you are dealing with people, you don't know what to expect.
But tomorrow is another day.
As someone who runs clinics myself, as well as attends them (as a patient), here is my view:
- health professionals should TRY their best to keep their clinics to time. That means any factors within their control (eg leaving extra time for travel, preparing in advance so time isn't wasted on unnecessary things) should be dealt with.
- if the clinic is unavoidably running late (and it does happen sometimes due to emergencies), they should APOLOGISE to the patient and offer a brief explanation, if they have kept them waiting any longer than 15 minutes.
- if a clinic is always running late, then there is a problem with the management of the clinic that should be actively addressed.
This is what I do in my clinics, and expect the same courtesy when I am on the other side as a patient.
I think Phineyj has made a very good point, I really would understand, and wait patiently if a member of the nhs was running late for a good reason, and this was explained to me, and I was given the option of maybe rebooking.
I think it is the snooty attitude that we should all sit and wait quietly for hours and be thankful,that winds people up.
I'm with the OP. The HV wasn't late because she was dealing with an emergency, in which case no one would be feeling cross. The HV was late because she got the times wrong.
My experience of baby clinics is that they are generally poorly organised. Have seen many mums wait for ages to see the HV, then have to leave without doing so, because they need to collect their other children from school. And yes, I think there is a bit of an attitude from some, that mothers have got nothing else to do but wait around.
I bought a set of electronic baby scales and weighed my youngest at home. So much more convenient and better than taking my baby to a doctors surgery filled with sick people. Why do they do this? Surely it would be better for newborns not to be in the same room as people who are sick.
The thing is, apologies/explanations for lateness cost nothing and would go some way to making the patient feel better. Some health services just don't care how long you wait, while others are efficient - even within the NHS. I do think it puts people off making appointments, knowing they may wait hours and be in trouble with work as a result. And don't get me started on how there never seem to be any appointments after 4pm and all antenatal stuff must happen at your "local" hospital even if you work an hour away!
I had a appointment at 9o/c at the maxillofacial unit in our local hospital , the clinic didn't actually start till 10.30, I don't understand why they make appointments at times when they are fully aware that patients are not going to be seen.
Why on earth would you take a healthy 7 month old to be weighed??
No wonder HV clinics are so overstretched
perhaps the hv was busy promoting formula feeding
thats all mine ever seems to do
Alder Hey is the easiest for cancelling appointments, you can simply fill in a form on their website, tick that you need a new appointment and it comes in the post a few days later.
go slightly over the top send out text reminders and a pre recorded phone call to remind you of the appointment, oh and a letter to remind you if it was booked way in advance. Actually it would be close on impossible to forget you had an appointment with them!
The last three appts I've had at the hospital I got the letter after the appt. apparently there is a six week backlog on letters.
The last appt was for an actual operation. Thankfully I rang the consultants secretary one afternoon to ask her if she had any idea when the op was. Was a bit stunned to be told tomorrow morning!
See I don't get that 70isaLimitNotaTarget - if I make an appointment I keep it or cancel it.
My friends and family are often being seen by several different departments and sometimes hospitals - and often waiting long times for appointment to come through - so its not like they can chase or have any idea when the appointment could possibly be.
I have had an unpleasant experience of trying to cancel an assigned appointment - I couldn't do that time and day as something else medically important was happening it was dam near impossible multiply phone calls to multiple people none of who were very pleasant to talk with. I wasnt even trying to rebook just cancel I very nearly gave up if I was less stubborn I would have.
It doesnt sound like that applies to your department but I do wonder what the no show rate was with that one.
People regularly wait twice as long as that to see consultants when they have actual genuine health problems, that tend to be more important than babies nap times.
It's horrible how long people are made to wait. In my experience, of NHS hospital appointments, it often because they are seeing private patients too, and they don't want them to have to wait. It's only going to get worse.
Socharlotte. Yes you do pay national insurance but you're not paying for that specific appt. if you were paying £50 to see the health visitor for that appt then no I don't think it would happen.
70isalimit - that is how it works at the peads clincs we go to, and still they have such a high DNA rate.
In the dept I work in the patients either phone for the appointment or if the next appointment is less than 6 weeks, we book it and write it on the appointment card.
Very few are posted out,
Still have a too high a DNA rate (though it will never be 0%
its no wonder they over book clinics if they are expecting 1 in 5 not to turn up.
Friends and family with long term condition have all had the experience at least once of letter telling them of appointment or clinic time arrive after the clinic date has happened.
If I was the OP Id have probably just tried the week after.
I usually assumed medical and density appointments will run late hospital ones 2 /3 hours and I had that with young DC and assume it is for a good reason. Though very occasionally it has become very clear to me there hasnt been a good reason.
i understand its annoying but i always think, what if her last appointment was a new mum thats struggling and shes stayed to help her?
Well that's just adding grist to my "the nhs is a bit shit in some ways" mill tbh...
The difference is my clients are paying.
so are we!! or I was last time I looked at my payslip!
I've also missed 2 appointments recently for DD's pre school booster as they arrived after the appointment date!
I missed two appointments. They sent the appointment letters to the wrong address. I did tell them that I'd moved, both in A&E and on a ward. It's not always the patient's fault.
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