"Choose and Book - comments and criticism"

About: Westmorland General Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

This “moan” is not about Westmorland General Hospital where the staff were helpful and caring throughout.

The new NHS database/s were based on a great idea: read a patient's records from one central location. However there are still a lot of awkwardnesses, which can be very frustrating to both patients and staff.

1 The Choose and Book appointment system involves more steps and more paperwork now than before, and it's a clumsy beast to manage. It took considerable persistence on my part to get a referral at WGH for knee arthritis. C&B only offered me Carlisle Infirmary (more than 2x as far away) and no other options. It required my local surgery to omit the word "knee" from the database query before WGH became available!

2 On phoning using my password and code and giving all the details I was asked for, it took the system 7 minutes, from the member of staff pressing the button, to generate a potential date for my appointment. The pleasant lady who took my phone booking did a lot of apologising while the system churned towards its result (we had plenty of time for conversation), but felt she had better not give her opinion of its efficiency.

3 NHS patient records: Both I and my husband, and many of our friends, use a middle Christian name, but NHS surgeries/hospitals persistently use our first name because this is the only option the DATABASE allows. It's made worse, if anything, by the patient-friendly policy of using the Christian name surname instead of Mr, Mrs or Miss surname. To be addressed persistently wrongly during appointments is astonishingly disconcerting and generates quite unnecessary tensions. Worse, it is VERY disorienting to be in a strange place, anxious, uncertain and, perhaps, recovering from anaesthesia, and to be addressed by a name you don't recognise as yours.It's not the fault of the staff; they do try hard, and write names correctly on paperwork, labels and straps and so on, often with underlines to emphasise. I'm sorry but there are lots of people whose naming pattern doesn't coincide with the preconceptions of the database designers.

I am sure such people must have noticed these difficulties with the database, and probably challenged staff about them while not realising where the problem really originated: the system design. Wasn't it tested before rollout? Isn't it possible to amend it?

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Response from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust We have made a change

Thank you for your comment. We apologise for our slow response, which is due to an email alert error. Since your comment, we have made my changes to our IT systems in order to make them easier to use and understand. Thanks again.

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