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to be fuming (NHS appointment related)

(53 Posts)
MESSING2 Wed 12-Nov-14 15:23:00

Received a letter confirming an appointment for DD at a specialist clinic. We can't make the date (early next year) as we're on holiday, so called the central bookings number given to reschedule. Told that there are currently no earlier appointments as far as she can see (she calls over her colleague to look at the database or whatever it is and check this for her) but says I can try to speak to the clinic directly as they may have some availability.

She puts me through to another number, so I explain the situation again and am put through somewhere else because apparently they aren't the people I need to speak to. Get put through to someone else, and explain the situation again. Conversation goes as follow:

NHS Lady: Did you just speak to my colleague?
Me: Yes, possibly - I have just spoken to a few people.
NHS Lady: Didn't my colleague just tell you that there are no available appointments before the one you were given?
Me: Yes, but..
NHS Lady: Well, there are no appointments, as she said to you before. I checked for her and there's nothing.
Me: OK, but your colleague said I could try asking the clinic directly.
NHS Lady: No - that doesn't work. All the bookings are done through us.
Me: Oh, right. Thanks anyway. Bye.

She was really quite abrupt and unpleasant in her tone, and it felt like I was being told off for being pushy/not understanding what they were saying. There was no apology or anything.

Is there any point making a complaint? Or do I just suck it up. I appreciate they are busy/stressed and have to deal with a load of crap every day. But this isn't really on, is it?

MESSING2 Wed 12-Nov-14 15:25:51

Forgot to add - she did say at the end that I should just try ringing every week to see if any cancellations have gone through. So not 100% unhelpful. Just rude.

DoJo Wed 12-Nov-14 15:46:17

It sounds like she might have just got the wrong end of the stick and thought you were calling again in the hope of getting a different answer, or possibly frustrated with original person for needing supervision to check the database and for giving you the wrong information! You probably just got her on a bad day - I wouldn't complain unless this is typical of your dealings with them.

windchime Wed 12-Nov-14 15:48:54

Pay to go private and tell them when you want the appointment smile

manchestermummy Wed 12-Nov-14 16:19:01

I've had similar conversations when trying to cancel appointments I know we cannot attend. It is hugely frustrating when you are trying to do the right thing by rearranging rather than simply not turning up.

On one occasion, I called to rearrange an appointment. It was for an eye clinic that runs on several days a week (every day in fact) but I just couldn't take an entire morning/afternoon off for the appointment. But I have two days off work so could take dd at any time. They thanked me for calling to 'cancel'and told me they would send another appointment. I asked could I not make another appointment over the phone. The response was "it doesn't work like that". When I voiced frustration that I might end up in a loop of cancellations and I would simply not turn up the diary suddenly became available.

twinkletoedelephant Wed 12-Nov-14 16:45:42

We actually got an appointment ( waited 6 months) dh got day off work mil had afternoon of work to collect other children took DS out if school finally found a parking space got to the clinic on time to be told consultant is not in today did we not get a letter......... I went ape shit. Then they found us a new appointment for this friday morning :-)

WooWooOwl Wed 12-Nov-14 16:50:16

I think it would be a bit OTT to formally complain just because someone was a bit abrupt on the phone to you.

Didn't they tell you they'd book you an appointment for a later date?

holidaysarenice Wed 12-Nov-14 17:32:47


You want to cancel your appointment as you are on holiday. Acceptable.

But you want them to give you special consideration an bring it forward. So queue jump.
Not acceptable.

Cancel and rearrange for the next available appointment after. It won't be a problem.

Yabu otherwise everyone would cancel to get an earlier appointment.

holidaysarenice Wed 12-Nov-14 17:35:44

Why should she apologise that you cant make the date offered and want an earlier appoinment?

And I doubt you will get a cancellation, they are normally held for the urgent letters that come in.

Can you tell I'm nhs through and through.

Sirzy Wed 12-Nov-14 17:36:31

Why did you not just ask for the next avaulable appointment after the date you couldn't make?

PossumPoo Wed 12-Nov-14 17:37:31

Yes I'm a bit confused why you didn't ask for the next available appointment after your original appointment date you couldn't make?

LadyLuck10 Wed 12-Nov-14 17:40:07

Yabu, no need to make a complaint. Do you not think they have more important things to worry about. Why didn't you ask what the rescheduled date would be?

manchestermummy Wed 12-Nov-14 17:41:03

It's November. The Op's appointment is several months away. I am guessing she was concerned that if she attempted to rearrange she might get pushed to the back of the queue as it were. I had this happen once when I missed an appointment through no fault of my own (dd2 rushed to hospital and i didn't think to grab the letter with the clinic's phone number on it).

OwlinaTree Wed 12-Nov-14 18:43:15

I had to cancel an appointment yesterday that I couldn't make as I'm on holiday.

Was offered a date 3 weeks earlier than the original appointment!? Go figure.

crumblebumblebee Wed 12-Nov-14 20:42:40

YABU to complain, what is there to complain about?! Waste of time.

HappyAgainOneDay Wed 12-Nov-14 21:17:19

I've rearranged hospital appointments with consultants several times. Never had a problem. Accommodating people on the other end of the telephone.

CharmQuark Wed 12-Nov-14 21:25:38

Lot of fuss about nothing.

She was a bit abrupt, had 'tone'.

You want an appointment, not a friend.

ThePinkOcelot Wed 12-Nov-14 21:30:31

Could it be that you had a bit of a tone with her after being passed around a few people?! Genuine question. Perhaps you sounded a bit exasperated?

Minerves Thu 13-Nov-14 00:56:09


you should have asked for a later apt not an earlier one

Cornettoninja Thu 13-Nov-14 06:30:26

Yabu, although it does depend on the service you're been seen by. Sometimes you'll get lucky and get an earlier one, but generally you will get whatever's available next based on your need. Ime consultants prioritise their own referrals and if they've decided your not urgent there's nothing anyone can do but treat you as routine.

I know not everyone understands how over complicated the back office functions work in the nhs but again ime the clinic availability is the same data whether a booking clerk, receptionist or secretary is looking for you. There's no magic slots held back for anyone to book on an off chance they get called. Again you might get lucky and someone might know of an extra clinic being organised or a dr that doesn't mind over bookings but it's not a given.

Sorry, the nhs hasn't got the resources to stretch to coordinating with each patients personal diary and there is an expectation that people make the effort to attend what they're given. It's fine if you have to rearrange but there just isn't much wiggle room for services that have hundreds of patients on their caseloads each month.

Annietheacrobat Thu 13-Nov-14 06:42:08

No need for rudeness but I agree it's unlikely that the bookings clerk would have the authority to override 'the system' .

My best appointment debacle was when I was pregnant with DD2. I was referred to the birth options clinic at my 20 week appointment for discussion VBAC vs ELCS. Only date they could offer me was AFTER my due date. The computer said no!

antarctic Thu 13-Nov-14 06:47:47

Sounds like she was slightly rude, but YWBU to make a formal complaint.

3bunnies Thu 13-Nov-14 06:51:49

I had an appointment once which I tried to rearrange, as I was urged to do in the letter if it was inconvenient. They said that they couldn't offer any earlier appointments (fair enough I didn't want to jump the queue) but that they couldn't offer any later appointments because then it would be longer than the time allowed to wait (the letter came just a week before the appointment after waiting about six weeks for the appointment). If I wanted a different appointment I would have to go back to the GP and be re referred, even though it was for non-urgent surgery (ds had had an umbilical hernia since birth) and we were happy to wait. DH had to cancel clients (also NHS, because he wanted to be there) and I had to miss an important meeting at school and arrange childcare because of their red tape. You have my sympathy but the person on the end of the phone has to deal with this stuff every day and they probably think that the system is mad too.

MESSING2 Thu 13-Nov-14 07:59:51

OK, so the general consensus is IWBU to complain. Fair enough grin

Just to clarify a couple of things- my intention wasn't to queue jump, just thought I would ask as chances are they would have had a cancellation between now and end of Jan. I should have asked to reschedule to ask later date, and would have done that but was flummoxed by the way I was spoken to so didn't get round to it.

Fwiw I wasn't expecting an apology because of not being able to make an appointment- I expected one because I was more or less accused of being a pushy parent, not listening to what I was told, when I'm fact it was wrong information from them (saying I should speak to clinic directly) in the first place.

anyways- points taken. Thanks all.

Geraldthegiraffe Thu 13-Nov-14 08:10:59

I can't really see where she was rude, and if you kept asking for an earlier appointment rather than rescheduling after then that would be irritating.

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