About: Lymington New Forest Hospital

What could be improved

I saw my doctor (in Lymington) at 0915 on 24th June and he advised me he was arranging for a scan at Lymington hospital.

Having not heard anything and being in considerable pain I called the above hospital's direct line for u/s scans at 1230 today (01590 66310). Despite phoning twice and waiting 10 minutes the number just rang out. I was trying to find out how long I would need to wait.

I then tried the MRI direct number and on my second attempt it was eventually answered. The nurse was quite helpful and said she would check, adding that the normal waiting time was two weeks. She then came back and said she had booked an appointment for 14th July. This does beg the question as to what would have happened if I had not phoned. It would have been useful to have been able to request a phone call in the event of a cancellation but this was not mentioned.

In an attempt to provide some positive feedback relating to my experience I would suggest that doctors are made aware of the approximate waiting time (including processing the request and writing to the patient) so the doctor pass this information to the patient.

With regard to no-one answering the phone, I would have expected a modern hospital to have the facility to enable voicemail on DDI numbers available to the public, especially those used for appointment queries. In this case I understand it was 'lunchtime' and no one is available to take calls. A brief message to say the department is not available during lunchtime and quoting the time period is surely not difficult to implement.

It would be useful to have some direct feedback from the General Management at Lymington with regard to the last point. I should stress this is not a comment on individuals but on the system.

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Response from Lymington New Forest Hospital

Dear Mr Davies,

Firstly, thank you very much for taking the time to share your feedback regarding your experience when trying to access the Radiology department at Lymington New Forest Hospital.

I would like to apologise that when you phoned the Radiology department to determine the potential waiting time for an ultrasound scan you were unable to speak with anyone despite trying twice. I have spoken to Clinical Service Manager for Radiology and Clinical Support to establish why your calls were not answered and have been advised that the team were in a meeting during this time and due to an oversight the answer phone was not activated. We do not usually activate the answer phone during lunch time because on the whole the phone is manned, but due to your feedback we will be implementing this immediately.

When a GP refers a patient to us for a scan, it sometimes takes several days for us to receive the referral through. In your case, we did not receive the referral until Wednesday (29/06/2011) afternoon and I have been advised that standard practice would have been to contact you regarding an appointment either yesterday afternoon or this morning if you hadn’t already phoned in. If a patient wants to be put on a cancellation list incase any appointments do become available then all that patient has to do is request this. It is not usually offered only because most patients are seen within a 2 - 3week period at most unless it is an urgent referral.

If a GP would like to know the approximate waiting time for a scan then they are able to contact us directly for up to date information. Unfortunately, due to the demand on the service being unpredictable it would not be possible to give an approximate waiting time that would remain correct. As I am sure you can appreciate, contacting all GP surgeries that do refer into Lymington New Forest Hospital on a weekly basis to pass this information would require quite a lot of time which would mean taking staff away from providing key functions in order to ensure the Radiology department remains as efficient as possible and is therefore not viable.

Having also spoken with the member of staff who books the Ultrasound scans I am in position to offer you an earlier appointment should it be off interest and will contact you directly to discuss this today.

I would again like to apologise that answer phone was not activated when it should have been and for the frustrations caused by this error.

Should you have nay problems in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me directly on 01590663089.

Kind regards

Ben Prior

Patient Experience Officer

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