"Appointment System"

About: Manchester Royal Eye Hospital

I think that the doctors at Manchester Eye Hospital are very good, and the staff who work on the appointment line are very professional and helpful. My comment is around the actual appointment system as I don't think it is an effective or efficient system for this day and age. I think that as a patient leaves his/her appointment they should be able to book in for the next one there and then as it would save on resources (letters being sent out etc) and would also ensure that appointments are made for the correct timescales. Currently there is always a huge backlog on appointments so the consultant might say that the patient must be seen within 3 months but the patient then just goes onto a waiting list and it is very difficult to get an appointment within that timescale. I know of a case whereby the patient has ended up waiting over a year and then needed surgery by the time they were seen. The appointment system just doesn't seem to work effectively at all and, in my opinion, needs reviewing and updating.

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Responses

Response from Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

I am pleased to hear your positive comments around the doctors you have encountered at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and the appointments team who answer your queries on the phone. However, I am sorry to receive your comments about the difficulties you have experienced with our appointments system.

As you describe, we operate a 6 week booking appointment system whereby only patients who need a follow up appointment in less than 6 weeks are offered an appointment on the day they leave from their previous appointment. We work like this for two reasons. Firstly, it is to ensure capacity is left available for urgent appointments that are required in less than 6 weeks by preventing clinics being booked up to full capacity for 12 months. Secondly, it is to prevent repeated cancelling and rebooking of patients to allow for urgent appointments or when we are informed that a doctor is going to be on leave. Our doctors must give a minimum of 6 weeks’ notice for their leave and therefore no appointments should be cancelled for this reason under our current system. Previously when all appointments were made on the day of the previous appointment, we wouldn’t know which doctors we are going to be on duty in in 6 months’ time and therefore there were occasions when the same patients were being cancelled over and over again. We felt this provided a poor level of customer care.

We welcome your comments / suggestions and would happily discuss this matter further if you have any other questions or concerns. If you wish to do this please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 0161 276 8686 or by emailing pals@cmft.nhs.uk and they would be happy to pass on any further comments to the outpatients department.

The Patient Experience Team

Central Manchester University Hospitals, NHS Foundation Trust