"A referral that was never received"

About: Royal Bolton Hospital / Ophthalmology

(as the patient),

In November 2015 A referral was sent from Boots opticians to the Royal Bolton Hospital eye clinic regarding a cataract in my left eye. I was told the referral was "fast-track" and that maximum waiting time would be 18 weeks. 17 weeks pass and I heard nothing. I returned to boots and spoke to the optician who conducted the test and produced the relevant paper work. We looked at the paper work including the postage details and he said I should call or go to the hospital. The hospital said they had never received the paperwork. I got boots to refax the paperwork and was told that my 18 weeks would start from when they received the paper work. I think this was unfair as I have already waited 18 weeks.

Why is there no system in place for Boots and other service providers to digitally log there referrals?

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Response from Royal Bolton Hospital

I can only apologise for your experience - we currently use faxed documents to receive referrals from external services which as in this case can be problematic. Our 18 week pathways are monitored from the point that the trust receives the referral. However where possible I would hope that we could accommodate a patient with an earlier appointment where available.

With regards to digital solutions Bolton NHS Foundation Trust is currently working with the CCG and local providers to have an email address for our referral process. While this seems like a simple solution we need to ensure that this is a secure process for patient confidentiality reasons. However this is being rolled out through the summer months and will hopefully prevent issues like this from occurring in the future.

If you would like the team to look into this or any other issue further please contact me on 01204 390245.

Matthew Wainman

Operational Business Manager for Head & Neck Services

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