"Appointment problems with Falls Clinic Dounby"

About: NHS Orkney

(as the patient),

My husband was made an appointment to visit the falls Clinic in Jan, but this was cancelled by telephone 10 minutes on the day, due to staff illnesses. The following week, my husband received a call from Smiddybrae Falls Clinic at Dounby to make another appointment for today.

Later that day, due to my husbands dementia, I also called the Smiddybrae Hospital at Dounby to confirm the appointment for today, 1.30 pm, and was told that my husband had told me correctly of today's appointment. After getting the early boat this morning, and getting to the appointment at 1.30 pm we were informed that there was no such appointment made.

We may be elderly, but we are not yet senile, and in 2 conversations we were given today's time and date. It's not fair on a man in his 80s to get him out to the clinic on false pretences. Please look into this for me and let me know your ideas. Thank you.

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Responses

Response from Julie Tait, Patient Experience Officer, NHS Orkney

Dear Alfietrixie

I am very sorry to hear that you and your husband have had such a difficult experience due to a mix up with appointments. I can fully understand why you have shared your story and why you have raised these concerns. A wasted journey to an appointment, particularly when you have to travel by sea, would have been both an inconvenience and very distressing for you both.

Clearly there has been communication issues and I have asked the Manager of the service to look into this for me.

Once I hear back from her, I will contact you again through Patient Opinion. If you would like to contact me directly, my email details are julietait@nhs.net and my telephone number is 01856 888221.

Kind regards

Julie

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Response from Julie Tait, Patient Experience Officer, NHS Orkney

Dear Alfietrixie

Further to my response above, I have now heard back from the clinician involved with the Falls Programme. I am very sorry it has taken some time to respond.

I have been given the following response:

"Our sincere apologies about the difficulties you’ve experienced with your appointment for Falls prevention. Unfortunately appointments were cancelled on the morning of your appointment as a result of an unplanned staff absence. Patients, particularly those travelling by ferry, were contacted as early as possible so as to avoid an unnecessary trip over to the Mainland. Alternative appointments were offered to patients, some of which were on different days and at the Physiotherapy department, Balfour Hospital rather than at Smiddybrae, as the Falls programme only runs in Dounby on a Thursday. Although we understood this to have been communicated by phone, your concern has highlighted that confirmation of the appointment in writing would have clarified any confusion as to where the appointment was taking place. Again we are very sorry for the inconvenience caused, and hope the above explanation is helpful."

If we can be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Kind regards

Julie

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