"Tryin to cancel and MRI scan for my mother"

About: Princess Royal University Hospital (Orpington)

I rang Radiology to cancel and MRI appointment for my 85 year old mother who suffers from anxiety and depression and has the signs of dementia. We needed to cancel the appointment because she has a pacemaker fitted and cannot therefore undergo an MRI scan. I was told that I could not cancel the appointment because I was not the patient, I tried to explain the situation (it would be too much stress for my mother to make the call) but was told it could not be discussed due to patient confidentiality. The manner of the receptionist was rude and abrubt to say thte least and she did not offer any help as to how I might cancel the appointment. She seemed to be happy that it would go to waste rather than that she provide an alternative solution. I rang another number to complain about the treatment I received and was put throught to a different receptionist who told her colleague that she 'couldn't get rid of me', she passed me on to the same person I had spoken to before, she was no more helpful and when I asked for the name of her colleague she said that she was not prepared to give it to me. I then said in desperation - ok I am the patient (my mother) and I want to cancel the appointment - by this time I had spent over half an hour trying to cancel the scan. She said the she was not prepared to talk to me anumore and ended the call. I rang the complaints department and spoke to a very nice member of staff who took all the details, apologised for the behaviour of the previous two staff members and said that she would look into it. I then received a call from my mother in the afternoon saying that she had received a call from the PRU asking her is she knew that her appointment had been cancelled. The whole point was that I did not want my mother involved as she would only worry about it (which she did, she spent ages trying to find the letter , forgetting that I had taken it). If the original member of staff in Radiology had suggested that they ring my mother I could have warned her that she would be receiving a call and not to worry but I was not given this choice, I was not given any alternative means of cancelling the appointment apart from being with the patient (not possible this week) or being the patient. I now wish that I had just said I was the pateint in the first place - what security questions would have been asked to confirm that I was who I said I was? Let this be a warning to others. I would also like to point out that the number to ring is constantly engaged, maybe it would be better to set up an answering service.

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Responses

Response from Princess Royal University Hospital

I am very sorry to hear about your experience of our Radiology Department and its staff and will ensure that your comments are passed onto the staff. If you experience any further difficulties please do contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service who will be happy to help and assist in resolving any issues you might have. You can either email them on kch-tr.PALSkent@nhs.net or phone 01689 863 252.

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