"As far as contacting by phone is..."

About: Charles Clifford Dental Hospital

What could be improved

Whilst I can appreciate you must be very busy, I can't understand why trying to communicate with you is proving so frustratingly difficult. On Friday 1st April I had a message left on my answer phone from you stating that due to 'staff difficulities' you would have to change my appointment time of 1100 on the 12th April to 1000 on the same date, a letter would be sent to confirm this. I find it strange that you would waste money on sending a letter to confirm this without discussing it with me to see if I could accomodate this change. As it happens I could not. I then tried for 2 and a half hours to contact you to discuss this. Eventually I rang the main switchboard, only to be told that the department I needed to speak to closes between 1230 and 1400 and I would have to ring back. I was ringing from 1130 and spoke to the switchboard at 1350. This frankly is disgusting customer service. If you need to close access to the department because you have insufficient staff, then a facility should be made available to leave a message .You should also inform your callers of the closing hours so they would be aware of when to call to speak to someone. However it seems I must keep ringing and ringing and ringing spending my hard earned cash and valuable time on listening to the same old message telling me I can't leave a message. Ridiculous! Eventually I managed to speak to someone, as I had already booked my train tickets and made arrangement for the care of my 91 year old god-mother whom I care for full time. I could not make the change you wanted. I was told that this would be discussed and someone would get back to me either that Friday afternoon or today Monday. I have heard nothing, apart from receiving the letter changing the appointment that can't be changed. Since 1400 today I have been constantly trying to ring you to see what was happening. Can't get through. That annoying message again. So I am going to arrive at my arranged time of 1100 on the 12th.

Anything else?

If you would like to discuss my appointment time, or any of the comments I have made here please contact me on the email address I have provided.

I have tried to be constructive through my frustration of the appalling lack of professionalism of your telephone service. To be frank it is a shambles, I get the impression I am just a nuisance you can do without, or why would you not provide information as to when you close and a facility to leave a message.

I am sure I can't be alone in my frustration. Other people must be experiencing the same problems. There is already one comment of a similar nature here.

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Response from Charles Clifford Dental Hospital

We are very sorry to hear that you have expereinced difficulties in getting in touch with staff at Charles Clifford Dental Hospital. We have shared your concerns with senior managers who have advised of the following.

Firstly they would like to apologise for the difficulties you have encountered, they are aware that this is an issue and have recently been looking at alternatives ways to ensure the busy phonelines are answered. The manager in charge of that area is working with the telephone services team to offer a better telephone service for patients.

A new system offering patients the options to be put thorough to their area of treatment with an option to leave a message if the line/staff are busy is being introduced. There will also be staff dedicated to act upon the messages left. This system should ensure that patients will only have to call once. This is going to be introduced within the next few weeks.

Thank you very much for taking the time to raise your concerns , unfortunately we are unable to contact you on the email you say you have provided as these details are held by the NHS Choices website and not shared with us at the hospital. However a copy of our repsonse should be sent to you at the email you used to send your feedback. If you would like us to look into your concerns further please dont hesitate to contact our patient services team on 0114 271 2400 who will be happy to help.

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