Quarterly report - Summer 2018: What we’ve heard recently about local services

Every three months, we’ll bring you a round-up of the latest feedback we have received from Lambeth residents.  Here’s a summary of what we’ve heard from 48 people between April and September 2018.
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Feedback on local hospital services

Several people told us about very good recent experiences at King's College Hospital and Guy’s and St Thomas’.  One had been routinely returning for transfusions for five weeks and told us they could not find fault with the service.  Other patients said staff were polite and able to calm them when they were anxious, for example when preparing for chemotherapy.

However, we also heard about a number of problematic issues including data breach, misdiagnosis, delayed and/or cancelled treatment and appointments, and poor communication across a range of hospital services including maternity, cardiology and chemotherapy.   People felt that issues with due diligence and diagnosis had resulted in further complications and, in one case, even risk of death, causing significant anxiety.  Some felt that there was a need for further training of some health staff in order for them to do their job correctly.

Mental health services

We received more feedback about the Living Well Network Hub over this period than any other mental health service.  Main concerns were around the poor quality of service individuals had experienced.  Callers described a range of issues including: staff appearing over-worked and struggling to cope; worries about how high-risk people with complex needs were being supported; difficulties accessing the Hub, especially over the phone; rudeness of staff over the phone;  Hub staff obstructing access to specialist services rather than facilitating the process; long delays in accessing services;  lost paperwork holding things up and data confidentiality concerns.

Other feedback included concerns that the high levels of mental health needs locally were putting a lot of strain on secondary care services, affecting their ability to operate well.  Meanwhile, the family of a care home resident living with dementia were concerned about the lack of activities for their loved one.

GP practices

In feedback about GP services, we also heard concerns about data breaches and missing medical records.  Other people told us about a range of poor interactions with individual GPs including: failure to listen, receiving offensive, ageist comments and failure to facilitate access to other services for someone who is housebound.  Two people also told us about the frustrations, pain and worry caused by a lack of diagnosis from their GP for long-standing health problems.

Other community services

A couple of people contacted us to relay issues with NHS dentists who had quoted large amounts of money for treatment without clear explanation of NHS treatment options.  We received positive feedback on the staff at a local foot clinic, who were very accommodating and caring towards a patient who arrived late for an appointment and required a taxi home.

We also heard concerns that pressures on health services such as district nursing were leading to unqualified paid carers carrying out tasks beyond their skill set, such as changing dressings.

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