Standing my ground at Hospital Reception...said I didn't have appointment!!

So at last i had my pain clinic appt. yesterday only to be informed at Reception the Pain clinic had been cancelled (again) I politely said called me just 2 weeks ago asking me to confirm my attendance...this was via an automated message...Have had automated messages before and think they are a good reminder of appts. although I personally think we should all be receiving texts by now..(my Dentist does this and Pharmacy) and not wasting money on letters and postage...

Anyway, i had to be assertive and request they check Again with the Bookings such position now its a Call Centre and when she tried calling there was no answer...No surprise there...i had tried at home...The Reception area was filling up with people trying to check in and only 2 people on Reception..I could hear grumblings behind me and felt they/Receptionist wanted me to walk away but i was insistent on speaking to someone to file a complaint...have been waiting since June etc etc and just to be told there was no clinic running and therefore i had no such appt. was extremley upsetting/ Receptionist asked me if i would like to see PALS who might be able to help...she went to check that someone was there and Great news there was a lady sitting in an office who i went to and told her what Receptionist had said etc etc.This lady called Jo was extremely helpful and when she checked her screen which I could see, HEFT had indeed cancelled the appointment BUT on the Clinician's screen my appointment date and time were clearly evident...I burst into relieved to see my details on screen as felt i wasn't being believed. So much miscommunication - .Jo then put in a call to Team Leader at call centre and queried my appt (she had to hang on phone for good 15 minutes all the time reassuring me I would be seen...) So, now have an appointment with new Clinician next Saturday!

So if this ever happens to anyone on here, please request/go to PALS as i am extremely grateful that the Receptionist directed me to PALS (not sure if this service is fully staffed but so relieved to Jo for sorting out my situation. I would never have thought of going to see them as just thought they were an online group for comments/complaints after appts.

Came home exhausted and went to bed..why do we need to go thru all this turmoil to sort out an already scheduled appointment?? Clearly there are huge chinks in the administration and organisation of NHS appointments. Jo is going to raise this as a concern with the Trust as clearly Clinicians Appts and Bookings are not working together and causing further distress on patients who are yet to receive treatment😩

Best wishes everyone

Bea x

11 Replies

  • Bea61 I am not sure where you go but I am very proud of you to stand up and be heard I am sorry you didn’t have your appointment but glad you got another one

    I know with my doctors if you cancel an appointment with out telling them with in 24 hours they can charge you for that appointment.

    That whole thing happened to me and I took the day off from work. Then of course when they reschedule you there goes another day from work. The the receptionist just sits there and just looks at you with this face like saying 😔 oh well. Not good not good at all.

  • Hi, yes i had to book the day off work- half annual leave and half admin leave which we only get for Hospital this is the second time..i still can't understand how this particular hospital is organising its clinic appointments but will let my G.P. know and just Bloody Hope my Saturday appt goes ahead ....

    Best wishes to you

    Bea x

  • Good for you!!

    Unfortunately it seems you have to fight every single step of the way. I don't waste my time arguing with receptionists. One tried to say that I didn't check-in the other week, while I do spend a lot of time in waiting rooms... it really isn't a hobby!

    Sadly, I've lost count of the number of times I wished they could walk a mile in my shoes.

  • I live in Australia and its no better here.Communication is the ket word here.Ive been dealing with the system here for nearly 25 yrs now and its getting worse,i dont expect it to get better.Nothing surprises me regardless of what department it is.I always screenshot all my appts on my phone and anything on paper i put in a file abd leave it in my boot so i always have proof.Sad state of affairs Keep ur chin up and good luck.😶

  • Hi, yes i take all my hospital letters with they have a complete history of when i was first referred etc...I was just so relieved to see the screen where my name appeared as felt the original Receptionist didn't really believe me about the phone message...I think i should have just gone to A&E few weeks back when i had an agonising start to flare up at least i might have waited 4hrs to get an injection but at that time, i couldn't move at all.

    Best wishes to you too!

    Bea x

  • Can I just clarify, you really did have an appointment with the clinician and they were expecting you that day, but because the receptionist said you didn't have the appointment you missed it?

    I ask because I have been looking at Did Not Attends or DNAs as they call them. Missed appointments cost the NHS money but when NHS England suggested they start charging for DNAs people pointed out that there is already research into DNAs that show it isn't always the patient's fault and charging for missed appointments can only start when they get their own house in order.

    If I have understood you correctly, this is another and different example to DNAs that I hadn't come across yet.

  • Hi, happy to clarify..i had an appointment with a named clinician at the Pain Clinic...Hospital Reception said there was no :Pain Clinic running on Friday as it was cancelled 4 weeks ago...i received a letter stating this. However, 2 weeks ago Hospital rang and when i picked up could hear automated message requesting me for date of birth etc to confirm hospital appt on Friday. I have received automated calls in the past and think they are great Reminders...

    When the PALS lady went into the named clinician's clinic diary, on the hospital system she and i could both see my appt was still live on the system!! She also could not tell me why one system was contradicting the other....

    I see your point about people maybe listed as DNAs... and this is also very concerning as this would potentially 'knock' them off the bookings schedule and patients would be totally unaware that this happened.


  • Thanks for the clarification Bea. So it seems that a 'clinic' was cancelled but the clinician's individual appointments weren't, and that the clinician could still have been expecting you. Or conversely as it happened, the clinician wasn't expecting you, even though you had had your appointment confirmed so you were expecting it. Additionally because the appointment was in the system it could mark you as DN as you didn't attend the appointment, requiring you to be re-referred.

    I am really glad that your PALS team are onto this!

  • Lets hope you never have to,its not fun

  • I've had this happen to me at doctors appointments also before........

    Apparently they forget and makes anyone feel dumbfounded when they go there to see their doctor, when they know it was prior confirmed. I know your frustration. One thing they cannot dismiss is when you have it wrote down on an appointment card they themselves fill out.

    You never know the real truth behind what they do when that happens....could have been intentional, putting somebody else in your place for an appointment. Could have been an honest mistake on their part. Apparently so...correct? But maybe

  • But this was a specialist appointment at the really don;t think they could cancel and put someone else in my time slot as they need your hospital no. etc. Hope that GP surgeries do not operate as you mentioned above and cancel appts to put in someone else!! Terrible 😬

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