"Abbysmal appointments system"

About: Princess Royal Hospital (Haywards Heath)

Had a pacemaker appoinment in in July (09/15) as device is ending battery lifetime. This service used to be carried out at Lewes Victoria and was shut with some flimsy excuses on health and safety grounds - the usual suspects. Went to RSCH once after the closure of Lewes, never again, totally grim, unfriendly dungeon.

Was promised at Haywards Heath that the next, critical, appointment would be sent out. Nearly six weeks later, nothing heard. This is in stark contrast to the lovely Victoria which issued the next appointments on the same day, at the reception desk.

So this is progress. A 30-minute appointment now involves a 4-hour round trip on the crummy buses, plus all the waiting time (local bus every 2-hours). Local services for local people? Absolute rubbish.

So now, with clock ticking, I don't know what to do. I tried the on-line booking service months ago to confirm an appointment, still waiting, never going to happen.

Jokingly, I thought it took a week to print the appointment, a week to find the envelope, a week to find a stamp, a week to find a letter box, a week for Royal Mail to process the special 5th class postage.

This is service at snails pace, forget the TV ED dramas, this is the real NHS. This is not leg hanging off stuff, this is the day-to-day out-patient crummy stuff. Quick enough to charge for parking, sell you a sandwich or a bunch of flowers, but can't do the important stuff like organise your next appointment. Over-worked, underpaid angels - not round here.

Individually, the people at Haywards Heath are nice enough and I've no doubt that the clinician thought that clicking the mouse would do the trick, but someone else had other ideas. Despite being stuffed full of computers and printers, the NHS can turn a 30-second e-mail into a 6-week marathon. But that would breach patient confidentiality.

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Response from Princess Royal Hospital

Dear Victor M,

Thank you for letting us know about your poor experience in getting appointments with Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals - I am very sorry to see that you have had such a difficult time.

This is certainly not the sort of experience that we want or expect any of our patients to have.

The Pacemaker clinic at Lewes Victoria Hospital was relocated as a result of external clinical advice to ensure the highest possible level of patient safety.

The outpatient appointments function has been centralised by the hospital and we did experience a number of problems following this change.

A new management team have been working hard over the last 6 - 12 months to make significant improvements to the new system and this is now showing real benefits to the way it is working.

Should you have any further problems with your appointments please do not hesitate to contact us on pals@bsuh.nhs.uk and we will be pleased to try and help.

Kind regards,

Andrew Harvey

Patient Advice & Liaison Service

Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals

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