"Failure demand at Wrexham Maelor"

About: Ysbyty Maelor Wrexham

(as a relative),

Two weeks after my mum's lumpectomy operation, I had taken a day off work to take her to her follow up appointment at Wrexham Maelor, about an hour from our home town. We arrived in good time, but were told in advance that there's often a delay of about 40 minutes. After waiting for 90 minutes beyond the actual appointment time, her turn came.

She had been anxious about the appointment and keen to discover whether they were going to recommend a course of radiotherapy, or not.

After an examination of the wound to ensure it was healing well, we were told that unfortunately the pathology results weren't available. They were really sorry, but we'd have to come back next week.

The nurse suggested that we could come at 9am, to minimise the wait. If the receptionist gave us a later time, she said, we could come at 9am anyway.

Suddenly the reason for our 90 minute delay became apparent. This habit of sneaking people to the front of the queue to cover up for the botched appointments must be a common occurrence.

Clearly this was a waste of our time, and that of the staff. Here we were, with a highly paid professional oncologist who was having to spend his time apologising to us, instead of doing his real job.

It wouldn't take much to check whether all of the necessary data is present, prior to the appointments taking place. This would be an inexpensive admin task. Patients could be contacted to postpone if necessary, and they'd be grateful that their time had not been wasted. This act would create a new slot to fit someone else in at short notice - impressive service all round and reduced waiting lists.

It's not rocket science, this kind of failure demand is such an easy thing to banish, and depending on the current scale of the problem, could drastically improve the efficiency of the service.

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