"Appalling performance by out-patents dept today"

About: Grantham & District Hospital

I arrived for an appointment at this morning's (8 Jan 2015) ophthalmology clinic at Grantham Hospital. I was told that there was no such clinic today and was asked if perhaps I'd got the date wrong. I assured the receptionist that I hadn't and then the chap in the queue behind me pointed out that he had arrived for an appointment at the same clinic. After much rooting about on the computer by the receptionist and a staff nurse, we were told that there had been a clinic but it had been cancelled for an 'audit' but, it appeared, no one had bothered to inform any of the patients booked in on it. The staff nurse despatched someone to help with the phone calls to all of the patients on the clinic's list that their appointments had been cancelled. Both the chap who had already arrived for the clinic and I were told that there were 2 available slots in an ophthalmology clinic being held that afternoon and asked would we be able to attend then. I agreed and received a 1400 appointment. I arrived at 1345 and was checked in and sent to the waiting room. Time passed and more people arrived for the clinic. At 1415 we were apologised to and told that the doctor running the clinic had had another clinic at Boston that morning and they were still waiting for him to arrive. More people turned up for the clinic and the apology was repeated about 10 minutes later. Some time after 1435 we are told that the clinic has been cancelled because (and I quote as closely as I am able) "... the doctor did no know he had a clinic in Grantham that day." Now, I claim no knowledge of the systems and procedures you have in place for managing these things, but - surely - even the most half-baked system has in place the capacity to ensure that the medical staff required to run a clinic are informed that there is a clinic for them to run. Judging from the appearance of a number of the people in the waiting room, I wasn't the only person ho had had to take time off from work for this. I, personally, have lost an entire day as I work in Nottingham and the nature of the procedure planned at the clinic meant that I would have been unable to drive for sometime after leaving the clinic. The upshot is, of course that I will have to miss, as a minimum, another half day if/when I am given another appointment. Further, I can't help but worry, due to the increased pressure being put on the out-patients department by the closure of the diabetes centre, that my diabetic care is going to become subject to the same lack of care and oversight that caused today's debacle.

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Response from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Dear Stuart

Thank you for speaking with me and I profusely apologise again for the poor patient experience you encountered. There are no excuses and it was down to poor communication at our end.

Kind regards,


Sarah Careless

Support Manager in Head and Neck