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"Patient experience"

About: Sydney / Sydney Eye Hospital / 2 West & Hand Clinic

(as a service user),

I have visited the Hand Clinic many times over the last few months. Each time I attend, the first check-in is at the reception, usually, a long line waiting to be processed.

I feel this is usually increased by the receptionists answering patient questions who want to know their position in the queue and why things are taking so long. You are asked only to come 15 minutes prior to your appointment to reduce the COVID-19 risk. In my opinion, however, this is completely negated when waiting times are long and everyone is cooped up in a small waiting room anyway.

Once you have ‘checked in’, depending on the stage of your care journey you wait for either a nurse, doctor or hand therapist. My particular feedback relates to the appointments where a doctor is required and I have detailed below. I believe hand therapy-only appointments ‘usually’ run on time, and if they don’t at least they are the only thing you are required to do that visit.

Doctor appointment

This seems to incur the longest waiting time, with the minimum wait being 40 minutes and the max so, in my experience, far being 1.45hrs.

I believe that from the waiting room, once you get into the clinic, you are then allocated a cubicle, then wait again for the doctor to see you. Issues are;

* Once you see the consultant/registrar, in my experience, they often do not know who you are or why you are there and it takes them 5 minutes to orientate themselves.

* On one occasion they told me, that actually I need an X-ray, here is a card and go down and get one, then come back’ Having waited so long for that stage wasn’t great. I feel this could have been solved again by appropriate scheduling, the team looking ahead at the requirements and foreseeing this issue.

*At another occasion when I got into the clinic cubicle, the consultant said I needed to first be seen by the nurse to take down the dressing, which again was another delay as there seemed to be no nurses around as they were on their break. The doctor waited on their phone while a nurse carried out the work, then by the time I was done, I understand they had disappeared for their break.

*When I attended my 5-week post-op appointment I was under the impression I would start hand therapy and see them after the appointment. I was instead told to make an appointment to come back the week after, meaning I would have to take another day off work. I don’t understand why my post-op appointment was made for week 6; then I could have seen hand therapy afterwards in one trip. Also, I don’t understand why I couldn’t have had an X-ray done in Balmain as I believe it could be looked at by the doctor remotely and had a telehealth appointment to review. The doctor hardly looked at my finger and, I believe, did not document that I had a post-op infection for which I had received antibiotics from my GP.

*I attended hand therapy at week 6 and negotiated a telehealth appointment for subsequent hand therapy. This is great as I won't have to take another day off work.

In my opinion, there is clearly a bottleneck and scheduling issues somewhere. I suggest either they speed up the bottleneck by improving motivation (no one looked particularly affected by the running of the late clinic), increase capacity, reduce the scheduled appointments and proactively schedule telehealth and pre-requisites effectively (X-ray, nurse etc). I also feel patient experience/feedback also needs to be considered and enhanced.


Response from Alan Porritt, Director of Nursing and Support Services, Nursing, Sydney Hospital & Sydney Eye Hospital 5 months ago
Alan Porritt
Director of Nursing and Support Services, Nursing,
Sydney Hospital & Sydney Eye Hospital
Submitted on 11/12/2020 at 17:14
Published on Care Opinion on 14/12/2020 at 10:22

picture of Alan Porritt

Dear limanz69,

I am sorry to hear that your experience and care within the Hand Clinic felt disorganised. Your experience within the Hand Clinic and Therapy unit is a very valuable insight into how our current clinic system affects our patients and I thank you for taking the time to send us this feedback. The good news is, there is a planned improvement. We will be introducing a checking in system called Q-flow, which will alleviate the long line at the check-in desk but will also assist in keeping our patients better informed about waiting times in the clinic.

Thank you for acknowledging the Telehealth appointment was a positive experience.

Again, I apologise for the delays have caused you further time off work, we value your time and feedback.

We are working with staff to value and actively ask for our patient's feedback, through partnering with Care Opinion and the National Quality Standard 2 - Partnering with Consumers, and I acknowledge this is very important for our organisation.

If you would like to contribute further as a consumer, please contact our Manager for Patient Safety and Clinical Improvement Manager on

Kind regards,


Director of Nursing and Support Services

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