UKH

/ Ineptitude

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FesteringSore - on 12 Sep 2018

For the last week I have been trying to contact a hospital department to rearrange the date and time of an appointment.

EVERY attempt has been met with "We are sorry there is nobody available to take your call. Please leave your name and number and somebody will call you back" or words to that effect.

I'm now a bit pissed off with it, having received no return call. I cannot believe that I am the only person to experience this shoddy behaviour. When can we expect a return to the times when telephones were answered by humans who dealt immediately with your enquiry or put you through to somebody who could?

 

Post edited at 09:29
wbo - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to FesteringSore: Are you sure you have the right number?

 

1
FesteringSore - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to wbo:

> Are you sure you have the right number?


Sorry but I'm not stupid. The automated response gives the name of the hospital department in question.

7
Sir Chasm - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to FesteringSore:

Tomorrow.

MG - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to FesteringSore:

Have you tried email? I imagine returning phone calls is a pain for harried staff. 

plyometrics - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to FesteringSore:

Have you tried calling the hospital’s main reception?

cander - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to FesteringSore:

Have you considered turning up for the appointment you’ve been given, after all you’re only a patient and as we know the NHS is set up for the convenience of the office staff.

17
FesteringSore - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to cander:

> after all you’re only a patient and as we know the NHS is set up for the convenience of the office staff.

I often think that!

 

2
Rampikino - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to FesteringSore:

That makes them busy, understaffed, backed up to the gills etc.  It doesn't make them inept.

2
MG - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Rampikino:

Quite.  Also, why does a retired person need to rearrange an appointment by phone at significant cost to the NHS?

6
FesteringSore - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to plyometrics:

> Have you tried calling the hospital’s main reception?


I have just done so. I was put through to another number with the same result. I rang the main number again abd was eventually told that the appointment clerk was on leave this week. Do the management not know about covering absences? Eventually got a call back from a consultant's secretary.

henwardian - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to FesteringSore:

The NHS is busy. Very busy. Any service degrades in quality as it gets progressively overloaded, no matter how good the staff are, it isn't ineptitude, it's just the result of an ageing population and ever-improving methods of treatment for all the illnesses that population is dealing with. If you want to get a better service, you probably need to move to an area with a less busy service. I can strongly recommend Orkney, I believe Highland is pretty good too and Eilean Siar.

If you can't move house, going private is probably the way to go because unless some catastrophic calamity happens very selectively to the retired population of the UK, the situation you are facing is only going to get worse.

If we are going political, I could point out that our brexit-inspired desire to stop young, healthy, hard-working people from coming into the UK and adding to the tax receipts will only make the situation worse.

henwardian - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to MG:

> Quite.  Also, why does a retired person need to rearrange an appointment by phone at significant cost to the NHS?

I expect FesteringSore might not want to tell everyone on UKC about that. If he/she has to attend his/her daughters funeral, for example, would you feel a little silly for asking this question?

2
MG - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to henwardian:

Unlikely. My guess is it’s an mundane reason.

 

4
krikoman - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to MG:

> Quite.  Also, why does a retired person need to rearrange an appointment by phone at significant cost to the NHS?


Double booked at the STI clinic? I don't see what being retired has anything to do with why you might need to rearrange an appointment.

2
SouthernSteve on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to FesteringSore:

The bad thing about this is that people who can't get to the appointment can't get through and an appointment slot is lost in an already busy system confounding the chaos.

Having recently looked after two old people hospital appointments are very changeable, but when cancelled it often falls to the patient to rearrange and when there are multiple health issues this can be a nightmare. 

It would be great if there were web booking systems for lots of these services as I could have intervened with minimum fuss and not in office hours.

My advice would be to speak to you GP as they often have channels through to the hospital not available to the patient and if urgent they can make the necessary pleas.

Post edited at 12:24
SouthernSteve on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to FesteringSore:

I would add I feel very sorry for the majority of NHS staff they have an impossible job in many situations.

1
Ex Poster 666 on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to SouthernSteve:

> It would be great if there were web booking systems ...

Trust the NHS/Government with more IT?
Their track record so far this decade isn't too hot!

fred99 - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to henwardian:

> If we are going political, I could point out that our brexit-inspired desire to stop young, healthy, hard-working people from coming into the UK and adding to the tax receipts will only make the situation worse.

But didn't everyone who voted leave do so because of the oodles of money that was all going to go the NHS rather than the EU ??

I sincerely hope that those people discover that there's hardly anyone working at their local hospital after Brexit because the "nasty foreigners" have all gone home. As my mother would have said; "That'll learn 'em".

3
Ramblin dave - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to FesteringSore:

> I have just done so. I was put through to another number with the same result. I rang the main number again abd was eventually told that the appointment clerk was on leave this week. Do the management not know about covering absences?

Unfortunately, cutting administrative staff numbers to the point that they can no longer cover absences is part of what governments like to call "finding efficiency savings without affecting front-line services."

2
SouthernSteve on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Ex Poster 666:

> Trust the NHS/Government with more IT?

> Their track record so far this decade isn't too hot!

The local doctors ones seem OK, but the superconductivity that was promised at one time appears illusory. The DVLA and tax office don't seem too bad.

two_tapirs - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to SouthernSteve:

> It would be great if there were web booking systems for lots of these services as I could have intervened with minimum fuss and not in office hours.

The sheer cost of a project of this magnitude makes it impossible on NHS budgets.  Combine numerous departments, consultants, doctors, nursing staff with what is probably complex business logic, with the cost of maintaining such a system, and integrating that with an existing legacy system will need a years long, consultant heavy project saddled with the required input of more people than most people realise, will be prohibitively expensive.  The NHS cannot afford a project, and the government record of delivery medium to large scale IT projects on time and on budget means it will never happen with the NHS as it is today.

However, the saviour and solution will be presented for a fraction of the price by the private sector, and herein lies the route that the NHS become privatised.  If the end user (that's the patients) want a system that works, then the only option is to outsource the development and maintenance to a private company.  I've seen this first hand with my local health authority and their pathology department.  I can now book and manage a blood test online, when I arrive I'm always seen on time, because the system is now better managed and efficient because it has to be in order to make the private company managing it profitable. Am I happy with this? I don't actually know.  On the one hand it's a breeze to book a blood test in advance, on the downside it's privatisation of NHS resources under the radar.

 

 

bedspring on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to FesteringSore:

I had an appointment with a Neurologist on Monday. The letter was letterheaded Salford Royal Hospital and after all the instructions, it said "thank you for using Salford Royal.

I duly turned up at Salford Royal, and asked for Building G Room H. I had to do this as all the buildings at Salford Royal have Names not Letters.

Eventually I queued at main outpaitents reception and presented my letter.
The lady looked a bit confused and went to her supervisor, who rummaged through my letter.
She was very nice and pointed out that on the second page of the later it did say the appointment was at North Manchester Hospital.
She also said that the letter was very confusing.
I raced over to North Manchester, got there in time for appointment.
Pointed out to the receptionist how confusing the letter was. She did not take a blind bit of notice.*
I then saw someone else and explained the problem I had, had. She did not take a blind bit of notice.*

When I saw the Neurologist I pointed out how confusing the letter was.

Hmm, says the Neuroligist, that letter is very confusing. I have had quite a few paitents missing appointments and going to the wrong hospital, I will point this out to my Line manager.

* These are the points of ineptitude.

two_tapirs - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to bedspring:

> I had an appointment with a Neurologist on Monday. The letter was letterheaded Salford Royal Hospital and after all the instructions, it said "thank you for using Salford Royal.

> She was very nice and pointed out that on the second page of the later it did say the appointment was at North Manchester Hospital.

 

> * These are the points of ineptitude.

Isn't that ineptitude in not reading a letter in its entirety?  Many NHS have multiple locations, but send correspondence from the main hospital of the Trust.

1
bedspring on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Yep, your correct. However, like I said the Neurologist said the letter was confusing and that she had quite a few paitents going to the wrong hospital. Until this point she had not seen one of the letters, no reason she should.

Wiley Coyote2 - on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to FesteringSore:

The whole 'poor overworked NHS' thing is wearing a bit thin for me. I'm sure parts of it are overloaded but other bits mask their own shortcomings under this old chestnut. For example I recently drove a neighbour to hospital for an eye appointment and I sat in the waiting area for an hour. By chance I was sitting in the front row, slap bang in front of two  receptionists/admin staff/whatever who spent the entire hour moaning about how overloaded they were. In that time neither of them did a stroke of work  which made me wonder how long they can spare to sit around moaning when they are not overworked.

On another occasion took my dad to a clinic. The nurse on duty walked round the department so slowly I'm sure she must have had special training. It was mesmerising to watch a human move so slowly. Eventually the phone went and I overheard her telling  the caller she was 'snowed under'.  Moving up to half  ort even quarter speed might have helped her clear whatever backlog was  causing her the problems.

Another incident: my brother was terminally ill in hospital. No fewer than six (yes six!) doctors had the conversation with us about withdrawing treatment. Each conversation took about 15 mins. If the first doc had written down our agreement or, God forbid, actually done something about it they could have saved an hour of valuable doctors' time, spared brother  some pain and my sisters a lot of upset

Three isolated incidents, you may say, but they are my personal experience of the 'overworked'  NHS

1
Timmd on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to MG:

> Unlikely. My guess is it’s an mundane reason.

It's nobody's business on here to wonder why he wants to rearrange it...

Post edited at 02:38
bedspring on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to FesteringSore:

Here is another one. Woke up on a Heart recovery ward after a Pacemaker insertion, in Blackpool Hospital which is the Lancashire area centre of excellence for heart treatment.

I had my shiny new statins to take, with a lovely glass of grapefruit juice, how refreshing.

MG - on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to Timmd:

> It's nobody's business on here to wonder why he wants to rearrange it...

He's moaning on a public forum about! 

2
LastBoyScout on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to SouthernSteve:

> Having recently looked after two old people hospital appointments are very changeable, but when cancelled it often falls to the patient to rearrange and when there are multiple health issues this can be a nightmare. 

My father-in-law is a case in point here - he has several health problems, the treatment of each (mostly) having a negative impact on the treatment of the others, so he's on a constant knife-edge of just enough but not too much medication for each thing. Although his case has been very good in general, there does seem to be an overall lack of joined-up thinking - for example, when he was taken into A&E due to a fall, the oncology department had no knowledge of this at his next appointment in the same hospital 2 days later.

> It would be great if there were web booking systems for lots of these services as I could have intervened with minimum fuss and not in office hours.

As someone else said, that's a massive undertaking, especially for something as complex as multiple departments across health care.

> My advice would be to speak to you GP as they often have channels through to the hospital not available to the patient and if urgent they can make the necessary pleas.

If you can get through to your GP - I've spent most of this morning so far trying to get an appointment for my daughter. I'm typing this while listening to the hold music at position 9 in the queue. That I'm even in the queue is a miracle, as their system is only capable of a queue of 20 callers - if you're after that, you get cut off...

syv_k - on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to bedspring:

Grapefruit juice increases the effect of some medicines. It might not be incompetence, it might be clever budget saving on the meds bill!


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