"Outpatients appointment cancelled with 24 hours..."

About: Queen Elizabeth I I Hospital (Welwyn Garden City)

I am normally a big NHS fan but words fail me as my son's appointment (we have waited 6 months for) was cancelled with 24 hours notice. Not only was this a huge inconvenience to us, but also the NHS. We were told that there was no doctor to run the clinic, I understand that circumstances beyond hospitals control sometimes happen, but were they no doctors at all to run the clinic, no senior house offices to deal with the more routine checks, what about the nursing staff, the audiology staff, the office staff dealing with lots of upset patients, all the notes I imagine would have been pulled out ready and appointment letters typed and sent. Not only did some poor lady get the job of calling everyone who's appointment was cancelled, she then had to offer alternative ones (nearly a month later in our case). Then we received a letter in the post apologising for the cancellation then along with the letter confirming our new appointment. And I wonder why the NHS has problems. It's not the office staff, support staff, nursing staff's fault its the management structures and policies in place that are failing their employees and its consumers.

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Response from Queen Elizabeth I I Hospital

You sound very upset and have every right to be - cancelling whole clinics like this will be the last thing we would want to do because we know the upset that it causes, as well as the extra work it causes for our staff. On the rare occasions where this happens, usually it relates to a very sudden and unexpected unavailability of the consultant running the clinic. Our staff will have looked at all the options available to them, but if a replacement consultant/senior doctor cannot be found then the clinic cannot proceed. We would be more than happy to investigate this matter for you if would like - just email us at generalenquiries.enh-tr@nhs.net.

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