Long waits for physio could soon be over

Princess Royal Hospital Haywards Heath ENGSUS00120130602165450
Princess Royal Hospital Haywards Heath ENGSUS00120130602165450

Patients frustrated by long waits for physio appointments at the Princess Royal Hospital should see an improvement soon, the health authority says.

The physiotherapy department at the Haywards Heath hospital has been suffering under the weight of demand due to staff shortages.

Patients have been unable to get through on the telephone and have encountered long periods when the lines have been constantly engaged.

One angry reader contacted the Middy after being told that it could take up to three months to get an appointment.

Instead, the man who was struggling with an arm injury, said he had been waiting more than 15 weeks and had still not been contacted even to confirm his referral had been received by the department.

He said: “The direct phone number to the depart is constantly engaged. I have tried almost every day for the last two weeks.

“If you talk to the main switchboard at the hospital they will tell you that the physiotherapy department is “a nightmare” and they get calls all the time from out-patients saying they can’t get through to the physio department.

“They told me today the department is very short staffed and its quite possible that they have taken their phone off the hook!

“Many people do what I am going to have to do which is to walk up to the hospital in person.”

The Middy understands that the physiotherapy department has been suffering with a shortage of staff after a number of people left to go on maternity leave without their replacements being recruited on time.

A spokesperson for the Sussex and Brighton University Hospitals, which runs the Princess Royal Hospital and the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, said the recruitment process was now on the move.

She said: “We have recently recruited more physiotherapists to the team at the Princess Royal and as a result we are already seeing a significant reduction in waiting times for routine referrals.

“We are extremely sorry that this patient had such difficulty in getting through to the department by phone. We never take the phone off the hook and we do have a system which allows people to leave messages...but this clearly did not work on this occasion.”