"I was seen at a surgical clinic ..."

About: North Manchester General Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

I was seen at a surgical clinic on April 30th regarding a diagnosed condition where I was referred for 2 more tests before a decision was made about future treatment - the tests were carried out beginning June. After waiting for a follow up appointment I contacted Outpatients dept to be told that the onus was on me to make this. I don't know how I was supposed to know this as there were no signs anywhere in the relevant departments to tell me to do this and neither did the medical staff advise me -simply told me that results would be forwarded to the consultant's clinic. The lady I spoke to in the Outpatients was very nice and has now made me an appointment for mid Sept but advised me to speak to the consultant's secretary who may be able to assist me further. I have constantly telephoned to be met with an answer machine - my voicemail messages are never answered. Even putting me through to another surgical secretary today resulted in an answerphone which informed me that they would be returning as of the 1st July (yesterday!). The staff I have encountered so far have been pleasant and helpful but something seems to be lacking in your customer service area.

What could be improved

Communications - deptartments doing tests should inform people that they must make their own appointments with their consultants clinic. I guess patients could also be told at the original appointment that once tests dates are confirmed to book another appointment. Ensure that there is someone to pick up phones or at least return calls.

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Response from North Manchester General Hospital

We're very sorry to hear of the inconvenience caused to you. Our normal practice is for patients to be advised at the clinic when an appointment is to be booked, either by the hospital, or for the patient to contact the Hospital after tests.

In addition, can we offer our apologies for the response problems with the phone calls. This will be raised with the relevant department.

Patients at any of our hospitals who have any outpatient queries can always contact our Outpatient Team on 0161 778 2233. The lines are open from 8am - 8pm on weekdays, and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.