"NHS Money Wasted on Last Minute Appointments Sent..."

About: Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital

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The person in charge with these appointments sent at the last minute is wasting the NHS a lot of money!

As it happens we have our own lives and families and no matter how much pain we're living with we cannot drop or cancel everything else booked weeks or months in advance just because we get an appointment to go to the hospital in two days' time!

The appointment letter is quite dictatorial: on the second cancellation you get discharged and "referred back to the GP with an explanation and documented within the patient record".

My first appointment letter I happened to get it just on the Saturday before Easter. Luckily that I went on holiday on Sunday! Otherwise I would not have known about my last-minute appointment! I rang the number on the letter immediately but there was nobody there on Saturday! I had to ring then from abroad to cancel my appointment. I asked if I could book one on the phone then but I was told that I'll get another appointment. I told the man that I already have some other appointments booked for the following weeks and I offered to give him my phone number to ring me when they had an appointment for me. He said that my phone number was on record. I insisted that this appointment was important for me but that I have some other things booked well in advance.

What happened next? I got another letter that arrived on the 9th of April saying that my appointment was on the 11th. I was booked on the 10th and the 11th to do other things that could not be postponed. I did try to explain to the lady that answered the phone, but she did not show any understanding. She even told me that if I cannot cancel the other appointment this one (the hospital one) is not that important. I tried to tell her that this system does not work but she was not listening.

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Response from Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital

We are sorry to hear that about your difficulties with our appointment system. Your comments have been passed to the outpatient booking department and you are welcome to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service if you have further difficulties on pals@nnuh.nhs.uk

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