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Written by a patient
10th December 2020

Firstly, I found most of the staff really polite and friendly. Always happy to help, direct you, porters will smile and chat to you, crack a joke to cheer you up. The hospital has a good atmosphere and is usually very clean. Smokers out front are off-putting. As is the high parking charges (even for blue badge holders). Was put under Neurologist Dr S (that relates to a metal). To give him credit, he knew a lot about headaches and was knowledgable about his area. But over following appointments, I did feel he could be a bit arrogant, rushed me, was impatient, talked over me, was a bit abrupt and rude. I found it hard to get a word in, and if he asks you a question, he wants the answer within a second. So I used to get flustered and even answer wrong because of being flustered. I put some of this down to NHS time pressures, but from a patient's perspective, it feels horrible, stressful and mistakes are made (from both sides). He wanted to re diagnose conditions in other parts of my body, but he wasn't right (and other doctors didn't agree with him. Though his neurology diagnosis was correct). This again was down to him rushing me and not giving me time to think through my answers. Felt it was a bit his way or the highway, even if treatment wasn't working (didn't get this, as it's not a personal criticism if something doesn't work, every human body is complex and reacts unpredictably). Felt I was not allowed an input/suggestion on my own care and body. Got to the point I didn't want to speak up. Some patients I spoke to had similar experiences. He wanted me to come off other tablets (which would leave me stuck in bed with other illnesses I have). Even my GP thought this suggestion was not sensible. People need treating as a whole and a balanced approach should be taken. It can't be 'lets treat his specialism at a cost of all the others.' Even if my tablets make my headaches a bit worse, if they successfully treat an illness, it's one of those things. I know patients get too worried to say something about negative experiences as they feel intimidated and worry their care will suffer if they report (I know of 5 other patients of his where he came across the same). Patients told me other Neurologists under the headache team, are easier to work with and talk too. I used to feel depressed when I spoke to him because I felt I personally was the failure for his treatments not working (so not worthy of his time), and this really isn't good enough (I have never been treated like this before by a Neurologist, they were unfailingly supportive and don't blame me, and keep trialling different things, and they didn't take it personally). From memory of other improvements needed, patients need regular appointments (4-6 months, and for a Neurologist to be contactable in between if a treatment doesn't work), and patients should not be left for indefinite lengths of times with treatments that don't work! Patients also must not be told to come off other treatment for other (incurable) illnesses, or he won't treat you! No Neurologist has ever ever ever suggested this, or anything like to me before. They just work around it! If he can't make allowances for someone with other health problems, then people like this, should be referred to a Neurologist that is able to work around this and treat a patient as a whole (which is more usual). I do think Dr S is a very clever man, and needs more time with each patient. I think this might iron out some of the things I experienced. What I also remember is he needs to ask the patient what do they think would work (if they know?). What medications (past and present) worked well, and be open to trialling them together (if suitable). Patients know their body best. I am happy to report that I am now under a different Neurologist, in a different hospital, and my treatment is back under control, and more successful (he asked me for my opinions and what treatments had worked best and we took it from there.... and it's working well so far!). I have more regular appointments and can talk to my Neurologist without feeling beneath him. I hope the customer care team can look into the points I raised to improve your patient care.

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