"Cancelled appointment - eye department"

About: Frimley Park Hospital / Ophthalmology

(as the patient),

I attended the eye dept for a double appointment yesterday morning which has been booked for 5 months. I made all the relevant arrangements to be taken and collected as following major eye surgery I was advised I probably would need my eyes dilated. My appointment was 9 and 9. 15. I left my house at 8 am arrived in plenty of time and had my visual fields done at 9 to be told to wait in another area to be called for the consultant. Shortly after sitting down a nurse approached and told me my next appointment had been cancelled! At the reception desk this was confirmed on 5 August to which I had received a text just two days before confirming both appointments. I was told cancellations are not advised by text for data protection reasons - yet you can confirm appointments by this means. Receptionist offered one alternative date which I was unable to make given that I have two other commitments on the day and given the short notice. Advised in no uncertain terms consultant appointment has to be within a month of visual field test so had no choice but to offer alternative appointment at the end of a clinic at the end of this month. This means my husband has to take time off to bring me when the clinic will be heaving with people and running late as it always does. My anxiety levels will be very high given the late appointment and long wait. When you have suffered as I have this past year and undergone very traumatic emergency surgery which has left me very poorly sighted this is a big issue!

When I got home yesterday in my post was a letter dated 5 August advising of the cancellation but it had only been posted the day before my appointment and was handwritten urgent and sent first class. Too late for me when I had left my house at 8 am!

When I tried to call PALS to complain it took them another 24 hours to respond and then it was not convenient for me to speak - hence this separate complaint to the one posted yesterday.

Shockingly poor level of service wth little care and consideration given to the patient and their needs.

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Responses

Response from Claire Marshall, Head of Patient Involvement, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust

picture of Claire Marshall

Dear Parndy

Thank you for sharing your story, and I'm very sorry to read of your poor experience, and for the frustration and distress this has caused. I have asked the team to investigate what has happened and will respond to you when I have more information.

Kind Regards

Claire

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Response from Claire Marshall, Head of Patient Involvement, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust

picture of Claire Marshall

Dear Parndy

Thank you for your patience whilst I gained some more information from the team to understand what went wrong last week at your appointment.

Unfortunately the clinic was cancelled as the consultant was required to cover Casualty. Ideally the receptionist should have advised you prior to your visual fields test taking place but it would appear the receptionist did not look at the full appointment listing. The cancellation of the clinic should have generated a cancellation for the Visual Fields test appointment but again this did not happen. Usually in these circumstances when patients have attended and are then advised that the clinic is cancelled the team would try to move you to see another consultant, however you were listed specifically for the named consultant clinic list and therefore needed to be seen by him I believe because of your condition/treatment.

I'm sorry the cancellation letters did not reach you in time. I would also like to apologise that you were not telephoned and informed of the cancellation in advance. The staff member you spoke with gave you incorrect information regarding the text messaging system as it is not related to data protection issues. Our current text messaging system does not have the capability to send cancellations. This is something that will be reviewed in the future.

I am very sorry for your poor experience. It does fall below the standard expected. Your comments will be shared with the staff involved so they can reflect upon your experience and make sure this doesn't happen again. It hasn't been possible to speak with the manager directly this week, and so your concerns will also be fed back directly to her as well.

We will let the consultant know that you are booked onto the end of the clinic and he will do his utmost to see you as soon as possible.

Kind Regards

Claire Marshall

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