5 mins late for medical appointment and reaction of HCP

(271 Posts)
BooeyBubbleHead Thu 27-Oct-16 20:49:01

I am 34 weeks pregnant. Due to an unforeseen traffic diversion followed by a slow moving farm vehicle on a winding road, I arrived 5 minutes late for a medical appointment today. I had left enough time to have been 10 mins early, should it have been a standard journey. I think being on time is important and I would never intend to keep anyone waiting. I was unable to phone ahead as I was driving and do not have hands free, and safe places to stop are few on this route.

This is a very regular appointment and I have never been seen on time - I have always had to wait at least 10 mins after appt time, and sometimes up to 30 minutes. I accept and understand having to wait and have never made it an issue or taken it out on staff; the sheer volume of patients mean that it is inevitable and nobody's fault.

Today, HCP was incredibly offhand with me, and even implied that I was lying when I apologised (sincerely) and explained why I was late. The appointment was rushed and very unpleasant and I felt that I was being punished. There was much passive aggression and hostile body language. I did state that I was offended by her tone but this just made her more argumentative - she needed to have the last word. I arrived feeling stressed and left feeling even more so.

AIBU to expect the same empathy and understanding when running very slightly late, that I give regularly when kept waiting?

Really annoyed and considering making a complaint...

FenellaMaxwell Thu 27-Oct-16 20:53:50

Sorry but YABU. The person after your appointment will have run late because you were late. If someone else a few appointments later is late, the person after them is delayed by how late you were plus how late the next person was and so on. And I bet they all complain to the HCP that they are never late and that she is always late.....

Stormwhale Thu 27-Oct-16 20:56:23

It's such a double standard isn't it? They can be as late as they like and you just have to lump it. You are a few minutes late and all hell breaks loose.

golfbuggy Thu 27-Oct-16 20:58:28

Well presumably the appointment would be rushed because the HCP was trying to do it in 5 minutes less time? It doesn't sound like the level of care you received was less than you would expect? Hard to know whether the HCP's manner was "off" or not, as by your own statement you were stressed which is likely to mean that your perception was off.

Presumably you were travelling some distance if your journey took you 15 minutes longer than expected? In which case it could be argued that you had simply not allowed enough contingency time for your journey.

londonrach Thu 27-Oct-16 20:59:20

As a hcp i hate it if a patient is late. Our clinic is fully booked, we dont even have time to go to the toilet in the day. If a patients late it makes me lAte for the next patient and etc and this meAns by lunchtime i have to miss lunch time to catch up. I love early patients as i get them in if im running late or hAve a patient who dna or runs late. As a direct result if i have to attend an appt i arrive early prepared to wait. Its polite to be early and nice to relax with the magazines. Sorry its bug bear late patients!!!

BooeyBubbleHead Thu 27-Oct-16 21:00:23

I didn't complain to the HCP about always being kept waiting (although this is a fact), I tried to genuinely apologise and explain. The circumstances were totally unforeseen and out of my control, but I do understand the impact of my lateness on other patients, which is why I felt so bad.

However, I would rather have not been seen and rescheduled than have the PA treatment I received today.

LilQueenie Thu 27-Oct-16 21:00:51

yanbu its the same at my surgery. You turn up and have to wait then if you are late they have a go at you. All the while doctors and nurses are standing socialising with each other.Double standards.

Marshmallow92 Thu 27-Oct-16 21:01:19

YANBU sometimes these things happen and we all run late for various reasons. I always call, however as you say it wasn't possible for you. Some people are always late and that annoys me. But when you're always early they know you're not that person. It's just Sod's law they were on time today! The people who always run late never apologise either hmm
Your apology should have been sufficient smile

TheFairyCaravan Thu 27-Oct-16 21:02:14

They don't run late on purpose. They run late because people turn up late, good reason or not, or because some patients take longer than the allotted time.

YABU.

bingisthebest Thu 27-Oct-16 21:03:54

I think the hcp was a bit hard on you today. I am a hcp and it is annoying when patients are late but if you are normally on time and obviously regretful then I definately wouldn't hold it against you. I get annoyed web people arrive late abs don't apologise. That to me is worse.

Lucked Thu 27-Oct-16 21:04:17

I am a HCP and i think that is an over reaction to 5 minutes late. 99% of the time lateness is completely accidentally as in the OP. Most people are busy and can only aim to be 10-15 mins early, particularly given I may make them wait and take them in late.

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Thu 27-Oct-16 21:04:18

They can be as late as they like

They really don't like to be late. They are late because the previous patients took longer than allocated.

It is frustrating when you are the unavoidably late patient op, I've been there, but from the HCP POV they have no chance of running on time if patients are late.

JassyRadlett Thu 27-Oct-16 21:04:52

Presumably you were travelling some distance if your journey took you 15 minutes longer than expected? In which case it could be argued that you had simply not allowed enough contingency time for your journey

She had two unexpected delays to her journey, which by her own account is unusual. She had already built in ten minutes of contingency. How much do you suggest she builds in to ensure she is never, ever a minute late for an appointment?

While working that out, do bear in mind that I once missed an appointment as I was caught on the M25 because a lorry had shed its load at the entry to the Dartford tunnel and traffic was stationary for three hours. I assume I should have built that in to my contingency....

AmeliaJack Thu 27-Oct-16 21:05:11

I think that if you apologised genuinely then however irritating then the HCP should have treated you with courtesy.

However HCP are also human and she could have been having a really bad day. Perhaps you were her third late patient in a row or the last patient was horrible.

If you usually receive good care, I'd put it down to experience.

OlennasWimple Thu 27-Oct-16 21:06:01

YANBU - there's no need for a HCP to be continually PA, and to be argumentative with a patient. A simple "telling off" at the start of the appointment, along with an explanation that she is going to have to rush a few bits in order to make up time, should be sufficient, and then proceed with the appointment as usual.

JassyRadlett Thu 27-Oct-16 21:07:50

but from the HCP POV they have no chance of running on time if patients are late.

But they do have a choice of how they react to it.

Taking their frustration out on their patients is unprofessional. (Not as unprofessional as the midwife who showed up half an hour late for the morning clinic, blaming traffic, but she'd had time to stop for a piping hot coffee on the way. She sped through my appointment missing half the stuff she was supposed to do, mixed me up with a previous patient and was very put out when I suggested that checking my urine sample might be a good idea.)

HackAttack Thu 27-Oct-16 21:08:53

I had this at one midwife appointment. I was actually on time but the receptionist sent me to the wrong waiting room. The midwife refused to listen and was shockingly rude to me even though she had been 30 minutes late for our two previous. That said she was also mind blowingly stupid as when I asked about donating breast milk she literally made a face and said people could spread diseases doing that!

Nottalotta Thu 27-Oct-16 21:09:42

This is a difficult one. I was early for my mw appointment last week, second appointment of the day for her. I was called in 15 minutes late. However, my care has been so bloody haphazard and shoddy so far that my 20 minute appointment took over an hour!! As she was putting everything in order for me (notes not completed or filled in incorrectly, etc)

So, they can be and are late for that sort of reason. But no excise for her attitude to you

Lucked Thu 27-Oct-16 21:10:04

Oh and sometimes I am late to start my list because of roadworks or I have been stuck behind a tractor on my way to work. Life happens. Let's just hope you next visit goes well and you return to having a good relationship.

Sparklesilverglitter Thu 27-Oct-16 21:11:24

Trouble is even being late by 5 minutes will have a knock on effect for the rest of the appointments.
Although that doesn't mean the hcp was right to be off with you as they should act professional

LikeaSnowflake Thu 27-Oct-16 21:12:55

I was five minutes late for a midwife appointment for similar reasons in my last pregnancy. I had similar treatment and the midwife actually wrote in my notes 'patient attended late'.

I get how lateness has a knock on effect but I was never late prior or subsequently. However, most midwife appointments I was kept waiting 30-40mins after my time. I wouldn't complain as I know how stretched they are and that unforeseen problems or unexpected patient lateness can occur. grin

I will say there was that small evil part of me that wanted to write down how late the midwife was in my notes every time but I managed not to give in to my dark side!

LemonScentedStickyBat Thu 27-Oct-16 21:15:00

Saying that the appointment will need to be rescheduled: understandable
Explaining some things will need to be rushed: completely reasonable
Explaining the knock on effect to other patients: yes maybe if you really felt it necessary (but listen to the apology offered first!)
Being offhand and rude - pointless, childish and unprofessional

Trifleorbust Thu 27-Oct-16 21:15:48

YANBU. This couldn't be helped and she had no reason to be rude to you. Obviously punctuality is important but this goes for them as well as for you. These things happen.

BooeyBubbleHead Thu 27-Oct-16 21:15:53

Journey is long, but made longer by diversion route due to accident on dual carriageway. Took all traffic on winding country road, where a huge tractor lead to a tailback and having to find a safe place to pass.
The car park was then really busy (not normally!), it was a catalogue of unfortunate incidents to be honest. I would normally be 10 mins early when leaving at the same time. I don't mind waiting - prefer to be early so I'm not hot bothered and stressed!

I was certainly stressed out by the journey but my judgement of the HCP's attitude towards me was accurate - it was very blatant and she was openly rude. Body language and facial expressions confirmed it too. Even when I tried to apologise, she was having none of it.

OhTheRoses Thu 27-Oct-16 21:16:12

Sometimes being late is unavoidable. Transport delays, etc., and it does happen even if extra time is allowed.

I've been kept waiting up to 90 minutes for medical appointments without an apology, including ones that are scheduled for 8.30 or 9am. I particularly recall a paed apt when ds was six months old for which I arrived on time (a major road had been closed) and the pig of a registrar, who couldn't be bothered to look up spat put "you all turn up late and now you are all here at once". As I got up to leave heard the nurse doing the weighing and measuring raising her voice to a small child.

The consultation terminated with the rudeness. I asked for an apt the the consultant and was told I couldn't have one without a slip.

Went to GP for a private referral. Wrote a formal letter of complaint.

Let's hope your baby isn't late op. Best if he or she doesn't inconvenience a midwife.

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