GATEWAY SURGICAL CENTRE ISOLATED DUE TO LACK OF INVESTMENT
I had what was supposed to be a routine appointment at the Gateway Surgical Centre, at 11.50am. So that you can understand what happened on the day, I would just like to let you realise that the Gateway Centre is a part of the St Barts and Royal London Hospitals Trust, known now as the Barts Health NHS Trust even though it is part of the Newham University Hospital complex.
As usual, to be polite I arrived early, so early that I had time to pop up to pay a visit to the ward I was recently in to thank them for their efforts and hard work.
I was still back at the downstairs clinic before my appointment time, where I could immediately hear waiting patients having a moan as they had already been waiting for an hour since their appointment time.
When the harassed nurse saw me to check my name and appointment time, I told her and she warned me straight away that there would be a delay of at least an hour or so, so I may like to go outside into the cafeteria for a while to kill some time.
With my curiosity aroused, I asked her what the cause of the delay was, when she informed me that instead of a fully operating department, there was only one Registrar covering the Consultant, who was on leave, and the other Registrars.
I went to have a coffee at the (for once) fairly priced cafeteria, and then returned to a seat in the clinic. By then the seats were in high demand, and tempers were still increasing.
Eventually someone was wheeled out who could let us know what the situation was. She informed all of those waiting, (many of whom had now been waiting for nearly two hours) that the Trust sincerely apologise for any delay, and that they have cancelled the afternoon clinic to allow them to catch up with the morning backlog, and that they had arranged for someone to come down after he had completed a round in the main hospital up the road and a round in a ward of this hospital to assist the existing Registrar, but this may take a while.
I pointed out that this cannot be the first time that this has happened, as on a previous appointment, as I was getting off of the bus outside the Hospital, and I received a phone call to tell me that my appointment was cancelled as the consultant was on leave.
Another more regular patient pointed out that for some reason, there are always extensive delays every Monday.
We were then informed that there was no way for them to stop booking for this clinic, even if the Medical staff were not available, as there is a shortfall in communications and technology in this field.
I pointed out that this was not the only field in which there is a shortfall of communications in this hospital. I asked why it was that medically qualified personnel do not have access to records from St. Bartolomews and the Royal London Hospital. We were informed that some people do have access to these records, but some don’t, even if they need them.
(This answers why there are so many delays in this clinic. I know that it took a full hour on my first visit for me to fully cover my medical condition and history, because they couldn’t obtain the information on-line from the RHL and St Barts.)
After a short time, two Doctors seemed to appear, and the queue rapidly depleted. I was eventually seen at 1.20pm, a full hour-and-a-half after my appointment time.
Mr Bloggy Says:
It is totally disgusting that operating systems and medical information are not available to this hospital directly on-line from both the RLH and St Barts in this day-and-age.
The repeated practice of cancelling appointments at the last minute are a disaster of their own, as this practice not only frustrates the patients involved, but disastrously extend waiting lists for appointments. It is no wonder that I had 3 separate appointment dates for my pre-surgery examination. This does nothing to encourage confidence in the ability of the hospital to those about to be admitted for major surgery there.
It is vital that administrators from the Trust get their fingers out and get their acts together and sort out the disastrous practices in this hospital before they reach breakdown point, which will not be long.
Here are some other points you might also like to look at:
On speaking to other patients in my ward during my admission, there seemed a surprising number of patients experiencing infections and other problems.
There is a dire need to improve the links between Newham (where the hospital is located) and their equivalent services in Tower Hamlets with regards patient discharge, which seem no where near as on-the-ball as Newham services are. It is these links which resulted in my being kept in hospital for an un-necessary four days extra. In some ways, people who are more sarcastic may call the delays bed blocking.