"lack of outpatient follow up at UCH"

About: University College Hospital / Gastrointestinal surgery

(as the patient),

I was seen for an gastroenterology outpatient appointment at the end of January and referred by the consultant for a gastroscopy.

About 5 weeks later, I telephoned the endoscopy department as I had not heard about an appointment. They informed me that the appointment had been set for the following week and I should have received a letter. I was unable to make this time at this notice, and they gave me two phone numbers to call to arrange a new appointment.

I have telephoned these numbers four times at different times over the course of 10 days. Each time there was no answer.

I then received a letter from the endoscopy department informing me that as they have been unable to contact me, I will be removed from the waiting list if I do not get in touch within 5 days of the letter. I have had no missed calls or messages from UCH.

I continued to telephone the numbers listed another six times at various times over the next 5 days. On five occasions there was no answer. On one occasion I spoke to a member of staff who told me that “the system was down” and assured me that someone would call me back. No one did.

On the 5th day, I emailed the consultant I had initially seen, copying in the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). Within half an hour, someone rang me up to arrange an appointment the next week.

Hospitals can be efficient, when they want to!

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Endoscopy Unit is made significant changes to its administrative arrangements in recent months, including the centralisation of the administrative team and new appointments to support the bookings process and management.

We now have allocated telephone lines which are designated to key staff members on a Call Centre booking arrangement (whereby they are answered within a certain number of rings), which is managed by a new Bookings Manager who heads up a team of 6 staff.

We have also formalised arrangements for logging times and dates for when contact is made to patients.

We are sorry to hear of this patient's experience, and remain committed to providing a prompt and efficient service, with letters being dispatched within 24 hours, and telephone calls being returned the same day.

We would be happy to speak to you about your experience and provide further information. Please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service ( PALS) on 020 3447 3042 or email pals@uclh.nhs.uk