"A consistent problem"

About: Princess Alexandra Eye Pavillion

(as a parent/guardian),

I am happy with the care my son receives when he attends the Orthoptics department, however not with the ability to communicate with the department. We are routinely sent an appointment letter, however if the appointment is not suitable, it is almost impossible to make contact with the department to change it.

Every time I call the number (this is in different months in relation to different appointments) I am in a queue of up to 10 people or diverted to an answering machine. I appreciate that staff are busy but this seems to be a consistent problem. It is important, so that appointments are not missed and time wasted, that patients and their families can reach the department.

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Response from Dougie Brownlie, Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) Marketing Officer, Citizens Advice Scotland

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I have seen your post and noticed that there hadn’t been a response as yet by the NHS. It is good to hear that your son is getting good treatment from the Orthoptics department but disappointing to hear that there are follow up problems in communicating with the department.

Therefore, I thought I would send this response to let you know about the Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) which is an independent service which provides free, accessible and confidential information, advice and support to patients, their carers and families about NHS healthcare in Scotland.

You can access this service from any citizens advice bureau in Scotland by going to a bureau in person, or by telephone. The number is in the phone book. You can find more information about the service at www.patientadvicescotland.org.uk

We have specialist advisers in every health board area in Scotland and who will give advice on health related issues including the policies relating to communication. If required, a specialist adviser can meet you and work with you to draft a written letter to the relevant NHS area which will then raise this issue with the NHS. The adviser can also explain the NHS complaints procedure and support you if you are asked to attend a meeting with the NHS.

We work closely with all NHS areas across Scotland and one of our key objectives is to work with the NHS to make improvements from previous experiences. From what you have said in your initial posting, I believe this is something that our advisers could take forward and hopefully get such an improvement.

Hope this helps

Dougie Brownlie

PASS Marketing Officer

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Response from Customer Relations and Feedback Team, NHS Lothian

Firstly I would like to apologise for the delay in responding. I am sorry to hear of the difficulties you have encountered in making contact with the department. If you would like to send your details to the Customer Relations and Feedback Team we will fully investigate. The customer Relations and Feedback Team can be contacted on 0131 536 3370, email craft@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk or by writing to the Customer Relations and Feedback Team at Waverley Gate, 2-4 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EG.

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