"Booking service cancellation letter devoid of helpful information"
About: Good Hope Hospital / General surgery Good Hope Hospital General surgery Sutton Coldfield B75 7RR
Posted by Curtains (as ),
My GP referred me via Choose and Book for a consult about an operation to treat a painful issue I suffer with. Having used the estimated wait times on Choose and Book I selected a specific consultant's clinic at Good Hope Hospital for an appointment, sometime into the future. However just 9 days later my appointment was cancelled. The letter read:
"I write to inform you that your appointment with the consultant or a member of his/her team at Good Hope Hospital has had to be cancelled. Please accept our apologies for any concern or inconvenience this cancellation may cause. Yours sincerely, Outpatients Book Co-Ordinator".
Here are the issues I can see with this approach:
1. ) No context. Was it because I was not considered urgent? Because the clinic was full? Is a doctor going on holiday? Is this just some sort of scheme to keep waiting list numbers down?
2. ) No recourse - There is no phone number to find out more information, and unless some prescient parent named their child "Outpatients Booking Co-Ordinator" I don't have the name of a real person who knows my situation to talk to.
3. ) Inappropriate letterhead - The rest of the paper this cancellation notice is printed on actually reads as if you *do* have an appointment. For instance it says "please let us know if you cannot keep your appointment", on a letter telling me I don't have one! The reverse of the letter helpfully tells me what to do when I get to the clinic (which I'm now not coming to) as well as how to park at the hospital (which I won't be parking at), and that I should respect the Trust's 'No Smoking' policy (in capitals) like I'm some errant youth being caught for truancy.
4. ) Confusing next steps. On the reverse is a small form which says "Please complete if this appointment is not convenient for you and return this letter by post", with options like "Please send alternative appointment". Now, it is totally unclear to me due to the lack of instruction whether a new appointment is forthcoming anyway if I do nothing, or if I'm meant to deduce that these inappropriate instructions on the back are actually something I should follow even though they don't tie in with what's on the front of the letter. Perhaps if I don't send it back then I won't get another appointment?
5. ) What happened to Choose and Book? I booked this using C&B, my initial appointment letter said if I wanted to choose another time I could use C&B, but this cancellation letter doesn't acknowledge that it exists.
Fortunately for me I am currently in quite good health, but I despair to think of how painful and upsetting this amateur-hour piece of communication would be received by someone who is in pain, ill health, or cognitively impaired.