"When being referred by my GP to ..."

About: Gloucestershire Royal Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

When being referred by my GP to the eye casualty clinic I was seen to quickly. Because of the condition an appointment was made for the weekend to allow for a check up

What could be improved

The communication system surroung changing appointments. I received a letter on thursday evening saying I needed to visit the eye casualty clinic the following monday which did not suit me because of work commitments. I phoned the next morning to the general booking line only to be put through the the eye casualty clinic because they were not able to rearrange those appointments. However, when I was put through to the eye casualty clinic I was told I had to phone the general booking line to change appointments and was hung up on. After phoning the booking line again and being put through again I was briefly spoken to and was told they would phone me back to confirm the new date for my appointment.

By 3pm that same day they still had not phoned me back so I phoned the general booking line again. Because the eye casualty clinic was not answering at that point I was given the direct number. Phoning the number I chose option 3 for enquiries about appointments. When I finally got someone on the phone I got told I had to phone the number again and chose option 3! When I explained that that was exactly what I did, I got told to chose option 1 (for GPs, opticians etc) or option 2 (eye surgery within 1 month).

Instead I decided to hold and was put through to someone else again. I explained that I was being sent around in circles and that I was checking whether I was able to come in on the day that suited me best, only to be told that the eye casualty clinic was only open in the mornings. When I asked them what to do next (as I was supposed to come in on the next working day), they put me through to the outpatients line. It was only here after explaining my enquiry and journey to get there (a good 20 minutes since phoning at 3pm), that my name seemed to ring a bell and the person kindly agreed to make a note about the fact that I would be coming on a different day instead of the monday.

Anything else?

Overall I have had a pleasant experience at the hospital, but the efficiency of the phone system needs to be seriously reviewed to allow for customer friendliness. Although I understand that the staff are under high pressure in this line of work, it would be nothing but polite to make sure that patients are indeed phoned back when this has been promised to them.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Gloucestershire Royal Hospital

Many thanks for your comments - feedback on the experiences of our patients is very important to us. It is not possible to give a full or personal response here, however it would be helpful if you could contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Team on 0800 019 3282 and the team will be able to assist and pass on your experiences. The PALS phoneline is confidential and a direct line, with an answer phone service which is used out of hours and when the team are busy with other enquiries - but is regularly listened to and responded to.

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