"A usable appointment service appointments"

About: Victoria Infirmary

(as the patient),

There is much made by the NHS and government about patients not showing up for appointments, and the waste caused to the NHS. The impression created is of the average NHS patient being an irresponsible flippant sort. This is far from the whole story. I think the appointment-making structure used by the NHS is as much to blame as the 'defective' patient.

When I finally received a letter from the specialist following my GP's referral letter, I was given a time which is not suitable. There are four numbers listed for changing appointments. I was connected through the main number, only to hear there were 8 in the queue in front of me. As I must get some work done, I tried the other numbers. Two of the remaining three numbers connected to fax machines. The fourth number rang out 20 times before I gave up. When I rang the main number again, it did not even connect.

Granting a single time slot which will quite likely not be suitable could be improved by offering a selection of appointment times which must be confirmed, more easily done by email than changing a single appointment offering. Or ensuring there are staff available to allow patients to actually change appointments.

Perhaps if the NHS provided a usable scheduling service that did not presume its patients had nothing better to do all day than wait to finally speak to to someone for two minutes to schedule a more suitable appointment time, the NHS would be given more respect in return by its patients.

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Response from Paul Cannon, Head of Administration, Acute Services Division, Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to provide your feedback.

I am sorry that this posting was not acknowledged at the time, we had a break in our use of Patient Opinion, but we have now resumed doing so, and I thought it was still important to acknowledge your posting.

You raised a number of issues that are of concern and I have passed your comments on to the manager responsible for these services.


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