"I've been a regular visitor ..."

About: Southampton General Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

I've been a regular visitor at the hospital since my daughter had her first operation in 2003. The staff have always been very helpful and friendly. There has been a lot of continuity, and the staff that know us always stop to say hello. I have always felt involved in my child's care.

What could be improved

Over the last two years booking of outpatient appointments has become a nightmare. We have to come back annually. You can't make an appointment when you are actually there any more - it will be sent to you about 6 months in advance. Only for two years this hasn't happened and I've had to ring and chase. In 2008, I left it until about 2 weeks before the check-up was due - and they had no appointments left, so they offered me an emergency appointment on 24 hours notice! Not much use for a working mum. In 2009, I rang to chase with 2 months to go - again all fully booked and I got slotted in at the end of a day, which isn't ideal with an 80 mile round trip to the hospital, Southampton rush hour traffic & other children at home to cater for.

My biggest concern is all the children that must just be lost from the system if their parents forget to ring and chase their appointments.

Please, please, please go back to a system where I can discuss a suitable date with the appointment staff, and get my appointment in the system. If it needs to be changed later so be it - at least I won't be forgotten!

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Southampton General Hospital

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We're sorry to hear of the inconvenience and have passed your comments on to the children's outpatients coordinators and child health matron. We are constantly looking to improve our service, such as using developments in information technology to help with appointment management, but if you would like a personal response to this specific situation, please get in touch with our Patient Advice and Liaison team on pals@suht.swest.nhs.uk or 023 8079 8498.

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