"Phones - you can do better than this"

About: Altrincham General Hospital

Had very frustrating time re-booking a Fracture Clinic appt when the original appt time booked for my daughter was during her school exams. Nurse who did the original booking left a message on my mobile inviting me to contact the M.I.U if the appt time wasn't convenient. Tried for an hour to contact the Minor Injuries Unit (M.I.U) for a phone number to rebook Fracture Clinic. The phone number for Alti General Minor injuries unit (934 8300) on the internet is wrong. It goes to a central Trafford Switchboard who say they have nothing to do with Alti General. They told me to ring Alti General Hospital Switchboard (413 7700) who say they can't transfer callers to the Minor Injuries Unit. The Alti General Hospital Switchboard told me to ring 413 7703 - apparently that is Ground Floor Reception - they don't answer the phones, and they are not inside the M.I.U. Rang Alti General Hospital Switchboard again - they said phone the M.I.U directly on 413 7711. That number during opening hours has a long-winded answer phone message giving the M.I.U opening hours, then says "don't leave a message" before beeping and then inviting you to leave a message after the tone. Which obviously doesn't get returned. After an hour of repeatedly ringing 413 7703 and 413 7711 I got to speak to someone who gave me the number 934 4040 for Trafford Clinics Booking Office (why couldn't Alti General Switchboard have done this for me, I did tell them three times what I was seeking?). Irritatingly the number 934 4040 is not recognised by the telephone network. So spent another 45 mins trying to get through to the M.I.U to get an accurate, working number for Trafford Booking service. Alti Switchboard continuing to be unhelpful, not providing me with an accurate number for the Booking Office, just repeating the numbers for the Ground Floor reception (not answered) and the M.I.U (irritating recorded message). Finally after 45 mins a nursing Sister answered the 413 7711 number and told me that the 934..... numbers no longer worked, so I shoulnd't have been given it in the first place. She said she would get someone to ring me. Later I received a call from Trafford Urgent Care Centre who deal with Fracture Clinic appointments (phone number is 746 2699). Appt now sorted, but what a waste of my time. Sort out your phone numbers please, circulate them to all relevant departments particularly Altrincham Hospital Switchboard, put them on your website and please do something about the speed at which phones are answered at Alti General. The excuse for the difficulties that I experienced with phone numbers, being down to the fact that Alti General is a new Hospital doens't stand up to scrutiny. You should have sorted all of this out before you opened. You can do better than this.

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Response from Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your feedback, it is important to us that comments are heard and seen as an opportunity provided to the service to make changes and improvements wherever possible. We are sorry to learn that your experience when attempting to rearrange your fracture clinic appointment was not as positive as we would hope.

The staff at Altrincham Hospital are currently settling into new ways of working, in a new environment, with new systems, and are addressing initial teething problems as they arise.

We can confirm that changes have been made to the contact numbers for the unit on the new Altrincham Hospital website and we have contacted Trafford Hospital switchboard following your complaint to reinforce the process of dealing with enquiries regarding Altrincham Hospital. The number you were provided with is that of the main reception area as Altrincham Hospital does not have a separate switchboard and we are very sorry for the frustration that this caused you.

Due to the nature of the department the phones in the Minor Injuries Unit are not manned at all times and we apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Your concerns have also been raised directly with the staff involved to ensure that your experience is not repeated.

We are very sorry that what should have been a simple process was made complicated, and you were inconvenienced. We hope that you are reassured by the actions that have been put in place as a result of your feedback.

We hope your daughter has recovered well and wish her luck with her exams.

The Patient Experience Team

Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust