Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hospital Tales Part 4

Just when I thought my experiences with the NHS were getting better, this happened.

Referral from my GP to a(nother) clinic. According to the paper she gave me I needed to ring them 2 working days after the referral to make an appointment which would be approximately in 6 weeks time. Instead of being able to ring up each day of the week and arrange an appointment when available, I could only ring on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday, with each day relating to appointments booked for a specific day. I.e. call on Monday for a Thursday or Friday appointment. So far, so good, if a little confusing. I, however, was referred last Tuesday so the next day that they were open to book appointments was the Friday. Which was a bank holiday. Or Monday, which was also a bank holiday. I finally called the following Wednesday where the conversation went along the lines of this:

Me: "I'm calling to make an appointment for XX clinic. My GP referred me last week"
Them: "Date of birth"
Me: "xxx"
Them: "which clinic"
Me: (repeats initial statement)
Them: "what's your name?"
Me: (spells name)
Them: "your date of birth?"
Me: (repeats date of birth, again")
Them: "how do you spell your name?"
Me: (spells name)

Turns out, they couldn't find my referral. "Your GP must not have sent it. Contact them and ask them to fax it, marked urgent". Phone went dead. So I called the GP surgery where I was greeted with a barked "hold the line". A few minutes later I explained the issue. "Date of birth?" she asked... "Yes, you were referred to XX clinic last Monday" she confirmed, confidently. "Well", I responded, "they don't seem to have any record of it being received. Can you re-fax it today, marked urgent?", I pleaded. "OK" she snapped and again the line went dead. So, as I have to wait 2 (clear) working days, that will bring me to Monday, two weeks after the initial referral.

Strikes me that Islington PCT could do with an integrated computer system...

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