About: Raigmore Hospital

(as the patient),

Received a call from 01463 704000 after office hours and heard nothing but silence on the other end. I called back immediately and the operator asked if I had an appointment coming up. I replied that I knew I needed surgery but hadn't been advised of an appointment time. I was told "That's all it was, a reminder for your appointment. " I reiterated that I had not been advised of an appointment time and asked if they could tell me where I needed to be, when and if I needed to do anything to prepare. The operator appeared irritated by my inquiries and dismissed them without any explanation, the only response given was that I would have to wait until the following day and speak to the appointments team. The whole exchange left me feeling rather anxious. If it was a reminder, had my appointment letter got lost in the post? If it was a reminder, what if my appointment had been scheduled for the following day?

I have since discovered that the reason the woman could not give me any information is because the missed call isn't actually a person calling but an automated service. I now realise why she was unable to answer my questions, however had she explained this at the time and told me in a calm manner that she could not access my information, and given some indication of how far in advance of appointments these reminders were typically made, I would have felt a lot more at ease about matters.

Please remember that when someone calls, you are speaking to a human being. Some of whom (as in my case) are trying to come to terms with an unexpected and traumatic health issue which has the power to dictate their entire future. We are not faceless numbers at the other end of the line and we do not care for curt voices and dismissive actions coming from the place where we are expected to be entrusting our health to. A calm voice and a little explanation takes hardly any time at all but goes some way to making the experience more bearable.

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Response from Linda Kirkland, Interim Director of Operations, Raigmore Hospital, NHS Highland

Dear goosed

Thanks for taking the time to provide this feedback. I am so sorry that

1 You received this automated call, this is the second such case I have heard of and that now has alerted me that we may need to look at the system in case it is not quite working as it should

2. The "customer care" we offered when you called sounds like it was not what you expected, nor as we would have liked to offer.

I will certainly look into this and discuss both issues with the Booking team supervisor. In the meantime if you would like to have a chat about this, then please drop me an e mail on Linda.kirkland@nhs.net with your phone number and I will happily call you.

Kind regards


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Update posted by Gooosed (the patient)

Hello, Linda and thank you for your very prompt response, it is appreciated as I expect you are a very busy lady.

I'll decline the offer to chat about the issue but I mean no disrespect in this decision; I'm quite happy with the response that you have provided and your indication that you may look at whether the system is working as it should.

It turned out that the appointment was for a pre-admission assessment which I have now attended and I have spoken to several staff since the incident who have reassured me and made me feel much more at ease about what I am about to undergo.

Their compassion has significantly increased my confidence which at the time of this phone call was probably about the lowest it could be. Thank you ever so much for your time.

Response from Linda Kirkland, Interim Director of Operations, Raigmore Hospital, NHS Highland

Dear goosed

I am so glad that the team looked after you so well and you are feeling better in yourself.

I hope that after your procedure you will feel even better!

Than you once again for the feedback, best wishes


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