"Appointment cancellation and poor communication"

About: Crawley Hospital / General medicine

(as a relative),

I took a half day off work to take my father to an ultrasound scan at Crawley hospital.

As he had a catheter in and required a full bladder for the purpose of the scan we were advised to attend at 3pm so the catheter could be clamped off, with the scan due at 4pm.

Having travelled home from work I was informed by my mother at 1: 30pm that the hospital had phoned to say the appointment had just been cancelled.

The reason given for was that the member of staff allotted to do his scan was sick.

I phoned the hospital and was informed they did not know any details and were merely informing the patients of the cancellations.

When I pressed the hospital for details of when the staff sickness was reported they confirmed that the staff member had been taken sick on the previous day.

In this case the sickness would have been reported in an internal email.

This is where the break down in communication appears to have happened. The appointments department did not receive this information until the following lunchtime and started to cancel the appointments. This for me was too late as I had already booked a half day off work and travelled home.

Why was the sickness information not passed onto the correct department in the first instance?

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Response from Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust We have made a change

Dear Zero10

I am sorry that your father’s ultrasound appointment was cancelled at short notice and understand how frustrating this is when you have made arrangements to be with him.

We try to provide cover when colleagues are unable to work but in this instance our system that alerts us to staff sickness did not work as well as it should and appointments had to be cancelled with less notice than is usually the case. I have put steps in place to improve the system and reduce the risk of this happening again.

If you contact me on the email below I can help re-schedule your father's appointment. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience and upset this has caused

My contact details are: diane.mcfeeters@sash.nhs.uk

Kind regards,

Diane Mcfeeters

Operations Manager

Diagnostic Imaging Department

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