"Elderly mother given appointment date for 10 months time"

About: Crosshouse Hospital / General Medicine

(as a relative),

My mother, who is 77 years old, received a letter giving her an appointment for November 2014 – how is anyone expected to remember an appointment so far in advance? My mother does not even have a diary for next year yet!

Elderly people cannot be expected to be able to remember dates so far ahead. I think many people would just bin the letter, if I was not around to check the letters for her I’m not sure what she would do. If they then have to follow this up with a further letter and or phone calls nearer the time this just adds to the cost.

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Response from Kate MacDonald, Business Manager, Nurse Directorate, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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Dear Koala413

I would first like to apologise for the delay in responding to your posting about your mother.

I can understand your concern about the advance appointment being in November and the very real possibility that your mother and other patients as well, not remembering the date with it being so far away. I myself have an elderly grandmother and I fully appreciate your posting. Although my grandmother is now in a care home, it was always a challenge to keep track of appointments that were so far in advance. The key here is that your mother has you and my grandmother had us as well to remember this for her, but the sad reality is that there will be many other patients who will not have the support of a family member to help them.

What I have done is pass on your posting to our manager who covers this area and when I hear back from them I will post an update here.

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about this concern Koala413, we will endeavour to find a solution for you and other patients and their families who have experienced this.

Kind regards


Kate Macdonald

Patient Opinion Coordinator, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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Response from Kate MacDonald, Business Manager, Nurse Directorate, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, NHS Ayrshire and Arran We are preparing to make a change

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Dear Koala413

I have been in touch with our Referral Management Service Manager about your posting and can update you and other patients and their familes / carer who may have experienced the same issue.

We are sorry to say that at the moment the policy regarding the issuing of review appointments is that they are given when the patient leaves the Clinic by our receptionists. The appointment can be up to 12 months in advance.

We fully appreciate that this is not the best solution when given out to our elderly patients and/or patients with conditions that affect memory. Ideally we would like to move to review waiting lists on the Patient Management System managed by our great team in Referral Management Services. This would allow us to issue appointment dates no more than 6 weeks in advance. This does however, require a significant amount of planning and transfer of resources, but it is underway.

We do have an automated telephone reminder service in place that reminds patients of their appointment about a week before. This is in place for a number of Specialities and should be rolled out further this year. Your Mum may not have been included in the automated call reminder service as we were advised to withdraw the service for our patients who are over 70 due to feedback that the calls were causing alarm.

We will be moving to text message reminders and are currently progressing this with procurement for a text sending solution. There will be a tremendous amount of preparation work required to implement this successfully, including working with GPs to ensure that referrals contain all the correct telephone numbers.

We are sorry that we cannot offer a solution to you at the moment, but please be assured that we are working hard on this area and we hope to offer solutions as soon as we can.

Kind regards

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