"Difficulty with arranging appointments and getting results"

About: Leicester Royal Infirmary

(as the patient),

I was told that I would have my appointments arranged as telephone appointments for my convenience.

As I was not given any information about how it would operate, and being unaware of the fundamental complexity of the arrangement, arranging this has been a shambles.

Instead of one visit to the hospital, so far I have made one visit to the hospital to collect a 24 hour specimen container that I wasn't given at the outset and that my GP doesn't stock, two visits to my GP to book and attend a blood test, and I made six phone calls after nobody called me when I was told they would by two text messages and I'm still none the wiser, and lastly I've written asking them to forward the results to my GP for me to collect - so a third GP trip will be necessary.

This really doesn't seem more convenient for me! And this hasn't concluded yet.

Having put me in to a situation where I have had to formally write asking for this information, it doesn't seem that it will be any more convenient for the NHS either.

I suspect that it would be better if they posted the results to my GP for me to pick up in future, if they cannot be relied upon to honour the commitment in their text messages.

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Response from Tiffany Jones, Head of Communications & Engagement, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Dear circumflex

Again, we're really sorry that you're having problems. I'm aware that we've communicated via this forum previously, but I don't think the communications or advice helped solve your issue.

As I really don't have enough information about you or your circumstances to resolve the issue via this site, my suggestion is that you contact our PILS team and raise this formally so they can help resolve it once and for all.

Please contact them free on 08081 788337.

Kind regards, Tiffany

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Update posted by circumflex (the patient)

This seems to be a standard comment suggesting that I call the trust. As I cannot get an appointment to see my GP for the next two weeks, I could foresee that things would only get worse which could easily be avoided, but your recommendation is that I make a formal complaint, which I will do.

Is the offer to help ingenuous?

An offer to assist appears meaningless if it only leads to a suggestion to make a formal complaint. Why not put this at the bottom of every comment instead?

Response from Tiffany Jones, Head of Communications & Engagement, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

I'm really sorry that you feel our offer to help is ingenuous, it really isn't.

To give your concerns the proper attention they deserve we need personal information about you to access your patient information to understand where our processes have failed. That is not information that I would request in a public forum such as this.

The decision to turn a concern into a formal complaint is entirely yours, and our PILS team would always prefer the opportunity to investigate and answer any concerns to your satisfation rather than insist on a formal complaints process.

I really hope you take up the offer of having one of the team look into this for you.

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Update posted by circumflex (the patient)

I hate to make the point, but I am not well, and a fit person would find this process onerous.

I also make the point that under the NHS Constitution I am entitled to the result of any test. It is not an arbitrary matter. If I ask, you must answer. This issue has recently been confirmed by the Prime Minister and I can quote if necessary. This happened when I had cancer and appears to be a problem peculiar to UHL. I was the only person on the Macmillan Forum who had no clue as to the staging of his cancer, and this is not acceptable.

As I cannot now receive the results at my local surgery I thought I would ask PILS to arrange them to be sent to me direct. I wasn't aware there would be a problem at the surgery, but I feel beset by problems and obstruction. It was PILS that told me to raise a formal complaint and this I have done today.

The problem is that Haematology don't call when they see they will, they won't give me the results. I can't get an appointment to see my GP and collect the results and PILS won't intervene (or at least they declined when I rang) - so a formal complaint is the inevitable consequence.

What you say in answer to my problem is not any reflection of what happens when I call. Putting it in writing ensures that there is no room for doubt or further confusion.

Response from Leicester Royal Infirmary

We’re sorry to hear that you’re not happy with the experience that you’ve had. To provide a specific response we would need more detail so it can be investigated, however it might be useful to understand how and why we use SMS messages for patients. SMS messages are a free reminder service that we utilise to remind patients of an appointment they have with one of our services. Messages are kept simple on the premise that they are a reminder and also to protect patient confidentially. We expect that anyone who receives a reminder is already aware of their appointment – either they have booked it via the Choose and Book system, agreed it verbally with admin staff at their last appointment or have received a letter from us. We know that our admin processes are not perfect and some of our patients are contacted and not aware that they have a face to face or telephone appointment. That should not happen but unfortunately it occasionally does. Sometimes for short notice appointments patients get an SMS before the appointment letter. Ideally if a patient is being given an appointment at short notice they should be contacted via telephone. Again unfortunately this sometimes doesn’t happen. We are aware of the flaws in our systems and are continually working to improve them. With regard to telephone appointments, these are consultations that are conducted over the phone, removing the need for the patient having to travel to the hospital, pay car parking etc. There is no location and the patients simply need to be in an environment where it is easy for them to have a phone conversation with the clinician. This telephone appointment should not be a surprise as the service should have made the patient aware at their last hospital consultation that the next appointment would not be face to face. If for some reason you have received a message and you really weren’t expecting it, we have either sent it to you in error because we have marked down the wrong mobile number for you, or we have your number down for other members of their family – if so the reminder is intended for someone else not them. Please contact our PILS service free on 08081 788337 if you feel this explanation hasn’t helped and you would like your experience investigated.

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