"Appointment line needs a shake up"

About: Manchester Royal Eye Hospital

My son attends every couple of months for a check up on a lazy eye he wears a patch, the staff in the hospital are friendly and really good with him, when ever I speak to them about appointments they couldn't be more accommodating, however the appointment line couldn't be more different, firstly they attempt a snotty why can't you come, which for one is none of there business, secondly no attempt at helping me rearrange was made I asked for a Friday so his dad could bring him to be told they don't do Fridays which Is fair enough, so i said the earliest I can do is from the 5th August, again I got a snotty well we have nothing till Sept you will get a letter, so i asked if they could put a note on to not make it for 9 o'clock in the morning as it take me a hour to.get there without the morning traffic,to which they replied well I will be making the appointment,so why couldn't they tell me on the phone, so now I have to wait for a letter to tell me another appointment that I may not be able to make because they would not arrange on the phone i think they need a little training on how to speak to people and be helpful instead of trying to get us off the phone as soon as they can.

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Responses

Response from Patient Experience Team, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your comments and kind words about our outpatients staff. I am very sorry to hear your feedback about the responses you have received via the appointments line and that a member of staff has been abrupt and unhelpful when you have been trying to rearrange an appointment for your child. This is certainly not the standard of response I expect from the appointments staff and I will share this feedback with the relevant team. Customer service training is being introduced with the administration staff at the hospital to try and eliminate experiences such as yours.

We do encourage staff to capture the reason why a patient cannot attend their hospital appointment so if a patient cancels a high number of appointments this information may be reviewed by the doctor to determine whether another appointment is offered or if the patient is to be referred back to their GP.

Our clinics are booked following a 6 week booking process whereby appointments are only booked 6 weeks ahead to reflect the amount of notice doctors must give when they want to take time off work. This is to prevent the large scale cancelling of appointments that used to take place when appointments were scheduled months ahead prior to the appointments team knowing which doctors would be absent at any given time. I am sorry if this causes frustration as patients are informed about their next appointment time and date via a letter. The hospital does intend to trial a new booking process whereby patients are informed when their appointment is due and can then contact the hospital to agree a specific time and date to try and make this more convenient for patients.

If you would be happy to provide your child's details to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) they can check with the relevant department that an appointment has been scheduled, ensuring the appointment is not at 9am. The PALS team can be contacted on: 0161 276 8686 or pals@cmft.nhs.uk.