"IT and general confusion"

About: Ashton, Leigh and Wigan PCT Leigh Infirmary / Gynaecology

(as the patient),

I recently visited my GP. Her PC was not working properly. She attempted to shut it down but it hung. She then switch her monitor on and off several times to try to make it work. I found it quite worrying that she did not know such a basic thing as switching the monitor on and off will not make the PC work. This is especially worrying when the surgery seems to be highly dependent on using a computer system for everything (appointments patient records, printing forms and prescriptions etc).

Anyway she wrote me a manual prescription and told me to come back the following week so that she could refer me for a scan. When I went back, she explained the scan to me, printed out and signed a referral form. She also told me to ring the scan appointment line (as it would be better if I arranged the appointment myself to fit in with my working hours).

I rang the scan appointment line given and didn't have to wait very long (even though the recorded message said there was high demand and it could be some time). I was then transferred twice to different departments. Again people were quick picking up the phone and were generally very nice. Except for when I got through to the final one who said I needed a referral from my doctor. I tried to explain that I had been given a referral by the doctor and told to ring myself. She then said "No, you need a referral. We don't make appointments over the phone. There is a six week waiting list." I felt like the tone of voice used was quite harsh, especially the "No" which was almost argumentative, like 'I've told you once, do you not listen?'

I don't know if this was intentional or the person was having a bad day or thought she was just being firm. However I found it quite upsetting, like a naughty child being shouted at. It would have been much better if she had said, "I'm sorry you need to send the form to us you can't do it over the phone."

So I have tried to ring my doctors surgery to sort this out but nobody answered, I'll have to try again later.

In conclusion, some staff need training from the staff in the first few departments that I was transferred to in good telephone practice. Also my GP needs to go on a basic computer course and needs a list of things that a patient is not allowed to do themselves.

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Response from Susan Heighway, Patient Relations / PALS Manager , Patient Relations / PALS, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your feedback in relation to making an appointment for a scan at Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh NHS Foundation Trust

It is correct that the referral is required to book an appointment and that there is up to a 6 week waiting time for this. However, we were sorry to learn that this information was not delivered in a courteous and respectful manner. As we are unaware which hospital took the call I will pass this to all the areas for sharing with their staff and ask that they ask staff to reflect on how a member of the team has been perceived.

Kind regards

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Update posted by frustratedP (the patient)

Thankyou for your feedback. I must stress that apart from the final lady that I spoke to everyone else was very nice, had a friendly tone of voice and were helpful and quick.

Update. I managed to get through to my GPs surgery later that day and the lady on reception told me that I should have given the form to her so that she could ring through for an appointment. I took the form back to the surgery and an appointment has been made for next month. All sorted.

(I still find the IT side of things worrying though, please can someone teach basic IT skills to GPs)