"Seeing my consultant"

About: Sentinel Healthcare Southwest Community Interest Company / Referral & Appointment Booking Team

(as a service user),

My doctor stressed to me how important it was I see a certain doctor at derriford hospital as he has been my consultant for 3 years now. When I rang Sentinel they told me they did not have the option to book this consultant through their system.

I found this to be a shambles as prior to Sentinel getting invovled I always saw him. After I found this out I decided to go to my local hospital to see who ever was free but was told " no appointments" and it was no good going on a waiting list as I would be moved to Derriford anyway.

So I am a little confused Sentinel. It feels like I have no choice in who I see, no choice on were I am seen and no choice but to do as I am told if I want treatment

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Response from Neil Parsons, Business Manager , Clinical Assessment and Treatment Services, Sentinel Healthcare

Dear Unsung

Sorry to hear your feedback about accessing a consultant at your hospital and then not being able to book your appointment.

Where clinically appropriate we always endeavour to book appointments with the correct specialist, we have worked in partnership with Plymouth Hospitals Trust to ensure their consultants are available for us to select when booking an appointment where this is clinically appropriate. There are some services where we cannot do this, we do however try and ensure the patient does get seen in the correct clinic.

There are situations where we are unable to book appointments at local hospitals as their are no appointments available to book on that day. We do work with our local hospitals to improve the number of appointments available, when we cannot book an appointment we hand the referral onto the hospital who then attempt to contact and book the appointment within four working days, sometimes this is not possible and the patients referral is added to a waiting list to ensure the referral is not missed. Clearly for patients this is not the best experience, however for the majority of patients they are able to book their appointment first time. This is an ongoing area for improvement.

I hope that I have responded to the points raised, if you would like to discuss this further please do not hesitate to e-mail me direct at neilparsons@nhs.net

Best wishes

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