NHS

A patient’s story

We were sent this today. A true story which sadly is all too familiar. This is what we’re trying to fix:

I got a letter this morning reminding me I had to book a hospital appointment. As far as I know I didn’t receive the original letter which had a password on it.

I phoned the appointments hotline, and they told me I couldn’t book it without a password, so to phone my GP.

So I phoned my GP who gave me my password, then called the appointment line back.

The appointment line then told me that I couldn’t book an appointment because they had run out at the hospital so I would need to keep calling back to check whether they had put more in the system.

*time passes*

The hospital phoned my GP to tell them they couldn’t book me an appointment outside of the Choose and Book system, because someone had forgotten to put enough appointments on it.

So my GP phoned me and said they were going to fax (!) the referral to the hospital.

The hospital will subsequently send me a letter with a set appointment on it.

If I can’t make that appointment I will need to go back to the appointments booking line…

So much frustation, wasted time, and effort. If only there was a better way…

For closure, here is the last part of the story:

So I finally had that hospital appointment this week.

 The consultant phoned me up last week for some extra information about my family’s medical history. When I phoned back with the info, the receptionist told me to email the information over but NOT to sign my name as the email account is not secure. Instead I should put my NHS number in the email – BUT obviously I am sending the email from my email address with my name on it…

 I got to the hospital and they couldn’t find my appointment, they were sifting through literal shopping trolleys full of patient folders held together by plastic bands. It was mad.

 Finally they found my appointment on a loose bit of paper on their desk.

 When I went in to see the consultant she said she really couldn’t do anything for me until she had more information.