A few of my readers have contacted me to ask why I have been so unusually quiet over the last couple of days, and was I unwell? Well the answer to their kind enquiries is no…I have not had Covid and my disabilities are always the same, but the reason I have been busy was getting myself ready for a meeting at the hospital.
As some of you will know I wrote about the awful time my mother had in A & E in Warrington when she had a stroke, and quite rightly it had upset us as a family and I made this known to the hospital. The one thing I did do was keep it all polite as I fully support the hospital when they contact the police due to threatening emails….no one should have to read those.
I cannot fault how quickly they have dealt with it, and they have always dealt with me in a very kind, polite and efficient manner but above all they have been understanding and more than happy to talk to me regarding the issues I had raised.
The problem is that so many hospitals had forgotten that people who use their services are customers. Regardless of who you are, we are customers when we approach A & E and that is already in a time that is pretty stressful as we found. Having a mum who was suffering a stroke and not being able to get an ambulance is stressful enough, and then to face the issues with A & E is often too much for people to bare.
I had no issues with the nursing staff and never will as they were so immensely kind when my father became unwell and sadly passed away, but it seemed that the care we had then had gone and it started within minutes of stepping into A & E and the lack of care that come from booking her in and it went down hill from there.
The people who use this serve deserve good quality customer service if not more so. and we deserve good communication and care and that comes from the administration upwards, and sadly this is where the hospital fell down.
The Administration on booking in were less than friendly and this was the common theme I have heard throughout from all people who come to see me as a Patients Governor, and if they experience such a bad service at the beginning of their contact, for them it only gets worse and if you are an elderly person it can cause chronic distress and put you off going again as you can be made to feel a nuisance.
I was pleased to be listen to the improvements that the Hospital are going to bring in, and it starts with good customer service training and as a fully qualified Customer Service and Business Management Trainer I will be looking at the improvements, and ensuring that communication is the key as we all know that A & E can be busy, severely busy and especially in this current climate where we have opened our doors to millions but where our Governments has not really given the NHS Service the money to expand with it, we know that the waiting time goes up but it is the not knowing that causes so much upset and will often be the cause of complaints.
People in any walk of life like to be kept uptodate with what is happening as how many of us become very irate when we are waiting for something, and we are kept waiting and waiting and nothing seems to happen? It causes upset and that upset turns to anger and this is when the threat of legal comes into it which is unnecessary in most cases but you cannot blame people for the hurt, the pain and the anguish they suffer. After all are we not all human? The planned improvements will go a long way.
I am very delighted that this is something the hospital has picked up on with the complaint I put in as a patients relative, not a Governor as I will not request nor expect any special treatment for myself or any member of my family and instead expect top quality care for whoever it is, and the plans are to ensure that people are not forgotten in A & E, to ensure that the people in A & E are kept abreast of the waiting times and with their own timing and that is all we ask…..people like to be kept uptodate.
I am really hopeful as Warrington and Halton Hospitals have a great CEO and one who is so proactive in supporting his staff and making a change, and having that alone makes for a great start and I actually like Professor Steve Constable as he has transformed the hospital since his arrival, and instead of dismissing complaints he actively sets a task force to discuss and resolve any solutions and with the increased use of the NHS the way it is, he is doing a remarkable job in truly testing times.
His very proactive approach has full backing from myself as a Governor and I cannot imagine a better person to be at the helm, and I know thankfully that the improvements they aim to do will be done as I trust him.
Never be afraid to contact your local hospital, or look at the website and find out who your Governors are…after all they are voted in by the people and they need to know that you are unhappy. There is no point Directors and Governors sitting in zoom meetings congratulating themselves that everything is good when it is not, but they won’t know if you don’t complain and you are not helping by keeping it quiet.
Hospitals can only improve if we tell them where they are going wrong and to do so is not being a pain but rather it allows them in real time to rectify any issues, and they can only do that with your help….so don’t be afraid to approach as it will ultimately help you and help them.