"Referral service was inefficient"

About: Ayr Hospital / Ophthalmology

(as the patient),

Having developed a pain in my eye during the night I called the referral management service for a possible appointment today. I called at 8: 30 this morning and was told there were no appointments available. I asked if I could speak to someone to get some advice as my eye was very painful and worrying. I was put through to Suite B outpatients unit but was cut off after being kept waiting for 10-15 minutes.

I called again and went through the same process all over again, after a further 10-15 minute wait I was referred to a doctor on a ward who advised me to call back at 10: 00 when he would be able to speak to me.

I duly called at 10: 00, no one knew anything about my previous conversation and was advised to call the referral service again.

When I asked to be connected to the Ayr Outpatients Suite B I was put through to Day Surgery and had to go through the process all over again – this happened twice.

Over the course of the numerous calls this morning I was put through to two incorrect departments and given a number that did not take external calls.

I did eventually manage to speak to a doctor who asked me to go to the Ayr outpatients’ clinic on the understanding that I would have to wait to be seen and this may take a few hours. I have no problem with this, at least I know my eye will be looked at sometime today. What I do have a problem with is the £17 it has cost me having to make numerous calls, being kept waiting, being misdirected when I feel the whole process could and should have been a lot simpler and less costly.

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Response from NHS Ayrshire and Arran

I am sorry you found it difficult to reach the person you needed – all out of hours emergencies are normally managed via NHS 24 and their contact number is 111.

The Referral Management Centre provides an administrative service for booking out-patients appointments once a referral is received from a GP or other healthcare professional. There is no facility within this system for patients to refer themselves to clinics. I hope you have now been able to access the care you require but please do not hesitate to contact me if you still need help on 01292 617318.

Janet Shankland

Assistant General Manager

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