"Consultant brilliant, booking system..."

About: Northwick Park Hospital

What I liked

Consultant has always been and is brilliant (I just transferred to NHS and have had 2 appointments here). Have known him for the past two years and I have been looked after brilliantly. During the clinic when there were a few doctors on duty, another doctor took my file and my surgeon came out and stated that he wanted to take it, as he knew me. The nurse in that department is acquainted with me as well now and is a very pleasant lady - making the effort to chat and not just turn her nose up like a lot of other staff do. The hospital, although a bit old, is wonderful. The main reception staff are very friendly and the private unit facility is brilliant - the care is another story, but as I say, the facility is exceptional. Thumbs up to my consultant surgeon, I've had my freedom and my life given back to me!

What could be improved

I didn't get my next appointment. My surgeon had written on the sheet to see me in three weeks, and on taking the form to reception they said they would post me the appointment.

From previous experience, when they say this it means you have to chase up the secretaries yourself to get an appointment over the phone (notification letter comes a week after this appt has been and gone). Thankfully I had phoned, or I would have had no appointment and may have even got a DNA because I had not been informed on time. Of course, I would only have got DNA if someone had actually bothered to arrange an appointment.

However, this time, no appointment was made. The week before my appointment (meant to be Tues 31st May), I phoned the secretary and left messages every day. She did not answer the phones and when I called the appointments line, they were unhelpful and told me, "if you've been dealing with the secretary there's nothing I can do about it" very rudely, as you can imagine. To top it off, I didn't have an appointment booked although "it's with the service managers to book one in three weeks" - that was 3 weeks from the beginning of May, and a month later it's still not done! I must have made about 30+ phonecalls to schedule this one appointment which did not require anything special - just needed to book it. But no, this never happened and to date I have no received a call back. I understand that people may be on leave for whatever reason, but this could easily have been done on the day of my last appointment, or done by someone else. If the appointment system fails when one secretary is away, I don't want to think about the future of the NHS!

Anything else?

Will not be returning to Northwick Park for OPD appointments in future if it takes this much hassle to even get an appointment booked. Nobody seems willing to help or do anything out of their job requirement to help.

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Response from Northwick Park Hospital

We were pleased to learn that you have been happy with the care that you received from your consultant, but were sorry to learn of the problems that you have experienced with booking your required follow up appointment. We will ensure that your comments are passed to the Outpatient Manager. In the meantime, if you require any assistance with booking your appointment, please call the Patient Relations Team on 020 8869 2026, who will be happy to help you.

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