"Very Poor"

In November I tried to book an appointment to see a consultant relating to a disc problem. I must have called at least 20 times before my appointment was made:

- A number of times no one answered the main reception number at all.

- A number of times the main reception took my message and said they would have the consultant's secretary call me back - They didn't.

- A couple of times I got put through to the secretary's voicemail - They didn't call me back.

- I asked for the secretary's direct dial - after a few attempts I got through to them. I explained the situation and asked for an appointment prior to Christmas - There wasn't one available. So I asked for one in the new year. I was told they didn't know the consultants schedule for the new year yet, and they would call me back in the new year to arrange - they didn't.

I called again in the new year - had to explain everything again from the beginning! They made me an appointment. They asked me to fax my MRI scan results to them. I called them back and left a voicemail asking for an email address (as it is 2016 and I don't have a fax machine). They didn't call back. I called again, got through and they gave me the address. I asked for confirmation of receipt of the email, as it had my medical details on it - They didn't confirm receipt.

I turned up on time for the appointment - Sat waiting for 45 mins without a word. I then asked how long it would be - Someone went to find out. 10 mins later I was told that they 'think' I am next! I asked how long it would be, and they answered, with a straight face - 'How long is a piece of string?'. I explained as calmly as I could that it simply wasn't good enough and to cancel the appointment and that I would book in to see a different consultant at a different hospital.

Yesterday I received a letter from the hospital saying that I had an appointment booked for the 5th of Feb with the same consultant, and that I had to let them know if I wanted to cancel it! No apology, no explaination for why I had been booked in for the 5th without requesting it?! Of course I won’t be turning up to that appointment. And I dread to think how hard it is going to be to let them know I won’t be coming!

From start to finish, the process was appalling. Everyone working there should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. This isn't a free/NHS service (where delays and struggles are to be expected, and should not be complained about) this is something being paid for by my employers, and often by the patients themselves - I simply cannot believe that a company can provide this lack of service and care. Utter garbage. Without a doubt the worst customer experience I have ever received.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from The Berkshire Independent Hospital

Please accept my apologies for this poor level of Customer service you describe. This is not normal practice and I would welcome the opportunity to further investigate, to enable me to do this I will need your details to review your notes. If you could contact me at your convenience I will fully investigate to ensure there is no repetition for other patients. Claire Gurrie, General Manager

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