"Frustrating experiences with appointments, referrals and PALS"

About: The Princess Royal Hospital / Ophthalmology

(as a relative),

My father has been repeatedly let down by the appointments and records system at our local hospitals. This morning I took him for an appointment to be told after an hour of waiting that the doctor who he was due to see was on leave! It was later denied by the appointments people but the nurse at the clinic said the problem was caused by what she described as "the incompetent" appointments department". That combined with no details of what appointments are for on letters, letters cancelling and rescheduling appointments we've never had - and turning up for appointments at one site to find that his notes are at another - and after 4 hours of waiting you're told to go as the notes wont be sent over...well let's just say I'm not impressed.

Oh and it seems that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. My dad has been referred for a procedure (cataract) at a private hospital, due to the long waiting lists at our usual trust. However, it seems that once you've agreed for that to happen, our local trust washes its hands of you - and doesn't talk to the hospital they've referred you to - so if you have other treatment that could affect the original problem (urgent laser surgery discovered after the cataract referral) the only person who informs the private lot is the patient or family.

As for PALS, we asked for an appointment to see dad's medical records - that was months ago - and still no call back. Frustrated isn't a strong enough word. The NHS management seems more concerned with paperwork than care.

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Response from Helen Handy, TRAQS & CAB Co-Ordinator, Telford and Wrekin CCG

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to respond with feedback following your father's recent referral via TRAQS.

I am disappointed to hear of your experience and can appreciate your frustration.

Unfortunately the TRAQS team do not have any control of the appointments systems or processes at any hospital.

I am aware that there is currently a lot of work being undertaken at the local hospitals to improve the appointments departments and the patient letters notifying of appointments.

Might I suggest that you contact the PALS officer at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust again and discuss your concerns with them?

If I can be of any further help please contact me on 01952 580441

Thank you again for taking the time to let us know of your concerns.

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Response from The Princess Royal Hospital

I am really disappointed to hear about your experience and fully understand how frustrating this has been. If you have not found PALS to be helpful please do consider making a formal complaint to the Chief Executive. You can find out more from our website at http://www.sath.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/complaints.aspx

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