Patients in Southampton complain they can’t get through by phone

Daily Echo: Senior sister Shelley French puts a poster up in Southampton General Hospital’s eye unit. Senior sister Shelley French puts a poster up in Southampton General Hospital’s eye unit.

IT’S always busy with outpatient clinics running throughout the week.

Now Southampton General Hospital’s Eye Unit is the latest department to back The Daily Echo’s “Turn Up or Tell’Em” campaign.

Senior sister Shelley French took some of our posters to put up around the eye unit that every week sees hundreds of patients.

All appointments can run a lot more smoothly and valuable resources can be saved if people phone up when they can’t make their appointments.

If people need to cancel or rearrange an appointment at Southampton General Hospital or The Princess Anne Hospital they should ring the number on their appointment card.

However some readers have contacted The Daily Echo saying that they have experienced difficulties getting through on these telephone lines.

Now hospital bosses are looking at developing an online cancellation form so patients have another way of cancelling their appointments.

Daily Echo: Turn Up or Tell ’Em: It’s good for the NHS’s health

Steve McManus, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust chief operating officer, said: “It is extremely important people inform us if they are unable to make their hospital appointments in order to give us the opportunity of offering cancelled places to others, which speeds up the hospital process and makes good use of NHS resources.

“Because our appointments staff are very busy, we understand it can sometimes be difficult to get through on the telephone to cancel or change an appointment.

“Following patient feedback, we are currently developing an online cancellation form that we hope to have available very soon.

“This form will be more convenient for some patients and help us to give a better service to everybody.”

Our Turn Up or Tell’Em campaign, backed by Southampton General and Princess Anne hospitals, as well as Winchester’s Royal Hampshire County Hospital, comes after we revealed that around 5,150 patients are failing to turn up to their hospital appointments across our region every month.

Over a year that number of missed appointments, known as Do Not Attends, costs YOUR local NHS a staggering £6.1m a year.

Health bosses in Winchester say people who cannot attend their appointments should call the number on their appointment card in the first instance. However if they have lost it they should call the main switchboard on 01962 863535.

Comments (10)

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11:52am Mon 8 Feb 10

Paramjit Bahia says...

Yes it is a step in the right direction. But everybody especially the elderly is not a computer geek.
If staff dealing with appointments is over worked, why don't they employ more staff?
Obviously there will be budgetary implication for that, but considering too much is wasted on pen pushing top brass, some of it can be saved and staff employed to do the productive work.
Yes it is a step in the right direction. But everybody especially the elderly is not a computer geek. If staff dealing with appointments is over worked, why don't they employ more staff? Obviously there will be budgetary implication for that, but considering too much is wasted on pen pushing top brass, some of it can be saved and staff employed to do the productive work. Paramjit Bahia

12:25pm Mon 8 Feb 10

footballcrazy says...

perhaps a reminder by text for all appointments as well. my husband has a lot at the hospital and doctors and we are worried about getting them wrong day etc or forgetting all together
perhaps a reminder by text for all appointments as well. my husband has a lot at the hospital and doctors and we are worried about getting them wrong day etc or forgetting all together footballcrazy

1:17pm Mon 8 Feb 10

hulla baloo says...

footballcrazy wrote:
perhaps a reminder by text for all appointments as well. my husband has a lot at the hospital and doctors and we are worried about getting them wrong day etc or forgetting all together
Use a diary.
[quote][p][bold]footballcrazy[/bold] wrote: perhaps a reminder by text for all appointments as well. my husband has a lot at the hospital and doctors and we are worried about getting them wrong day etc or forgetting all together[/p][/quote]Use a diary. hulla baloo

2:46pm Mon 8 Feb 10

shilo says...

hulla baloo wrote:
footballcrazy wrote: perhaps a reminder by text for all appointments as well. my husband has a lot at the hospital and doctors and we are worried about getting them wrong day etc or forgetting all together
Use a diary.
Or a calendar, they are selling Cliff Richard's ones dead cheap in Instore in Totton, can't think why.
[quote][p][bold]hulla baloo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]footballcrazy[/bold] wrote: perhaps a reminder by text for all appointments as well. my husband has a lot at the hospital and doctors and we are worried about getting them wrong day etc or forgetting all together[/p][/quote]Use a diary.[/p][/quote]Or a calendar, they are selling Cliff Richard's ones dead cheap in Instore in Totton, can't think why. shilo

8:35pm Mon 8 Feb 10

bravebeth says...

Why does the eye hospital keep changing the appointments? It would be easier if they made the appointments a month before and then sent you the letter - it would save thousands in wasted postage.Why is the eye hospital so inefficient in making you wait hours for your appointment?

The real reason is it is making a fortune on the car parking charges.
Why does the hospital not support more direct buses to the hospital from the West side of the city?
Why does the eye hospital keep changing the appointments? It would be easier if they made the appointments a month before and then sent you the letter - it would save thousands in wasted postage.Why is the eye hospital so inefficient in making you wait hours for your appointment? The real reason is it is making a fortune on the car parking charges. Why does the hospital not support more direct buses to the hospital from the West side of the city? bravebeth

10:06am Tue 9 Feb 10

cgutteridge says...

An online cancellation form is a good idea, but needs to be painless.

The appointment card should say something like "To cancel this appointment online, go to:
http://www.suht.nhs.
uk/cancel/ and enter the appointment code: ab38nn9" and that page should give the same information as on the card was and offer a big "cancel" button.

Afterwards it should thank you for being considerate of others.

It should use POST and not be cached in the browser for privacy. It's essential you don't get asked "Mum, why did you have an appointment with Dr Foster, the oncologist?"

(the ab38nn9 would be a unique code, as short as possible but containing a checksum and avoiding confusing letters like il10oO which are hard to transcribe correctly.)

The voter registration site (linked on the cards which come through the door) is an example of this done well.

If this seems a bit obsessive, it's because I hate to see good ideas ruined by bad design.
An online cancellation form is a good idea, but needs to be painless. The appointment card should say something like "To cancel this appointment online, go to: http://www.suht.nhs. uk/cancel/ and enter the appointment code: ab38nn9" and that page should give the same information as on the card was and offer a big "cancel" button. Afterwards it should thank you for being considerate of others. It should use POST and not be cached in the browser for privacy. It's essential you don't get asked "Mum, why did you have an appointment with Dr Foster, the oncologist?" (the ab38nn9 would be a unique code, as short as possible but containing a checksum and avoiding confusing letters like il10oO which are hard to transcribe correctly.) The voter registration site (linked on the cards which come through the door) is an example of this done well. If this seems a bit obsessive, it's because I hate to see good ideas ruined by bad design. cgutteridge

1:28pm Tue 9 Feb 10

Ratty Jean says...

footballcrazy wrote:
perhaps a reminder by text for all appointments as well. my husband has a lot at the hospital and doctors and we are worried about getting them wrong day etc or forgetting all together
I have had many out-patient clinic appointments over the last 4 months, mostly orthopaedics. They always send a text message about 1 week before and again about 2-3 days before, so as long as you give them your mobile phone number, you will get TWO reminders.
[quote][p][bold]footballcrazy[/bold] wrote: perhaps a reminder by text for all appointments as well. my husband has a lot at the hospital and doctors and we are worried about getting them wrong day etc or forgetting all together[/p][/quote]I have had many out-patient clinic appointments over the last 4 months, mostly orthopaedics. They always send a text message about 1 week before and again about 2-3 days before, so as long as you give them your mobile phone number, you will get TWO reminders. Ratty Jean

1:32pm Tue 9 Feb 10

Ratty Jean says...

Ratty Jean wrote:
footballcrazy wrote: perhaps a reminder by text for all appointments as well. my husband has a lot at the hospital and doctors and we are worried about getting them wrong day etc or forgetting all together
I have had many out-patient clinic appointments over the last 4 months, mostly orthopaedics. They always send a text message about 1 week before and again about 2-3 days before, so as long as you give them your mobile phone number, you will get TWO reminders.
Me again ................
But you MUST give them your mobile number, most people don't
[quote][p][bold]Ratty Jean[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]footballcrazy[/bold] wrote: perhaps a reminder by text for all appointments as well. my husband has a lot at the hospital and doctors and we are worried about getting them wrong day etc or forgetting all together[/p][/quote]I have had many out-patient clinic appointments over the last 4 months, mostly orthopaedics. They always send a text message about 1 week before and again about 2-3 days before, so as long as you give them your mobile phone number, you will get TWO reminders.[/p][/quote]Me again ................ But you MUST give them your mobile number, most people don't Ratty Jean

5:44pm Tue 9 Feb 10

Redback says...

All looks like good stuff to me!

The NHS is always talking about how it wants patients to help redesign its services - can I suggest that you put your ideas down on paper and contact the hospitals Communications department?
All looks like good stuff to me! The NHS is always talking about how it wants patients to help redesign its services - can I suggest that you put your ideas down on paper and contact the hospitals Communications department? Redback

6:14pm Tue 9 Feb 10

Redback says...

cgutteridge wrote:
An online cancellation form is a good idea, but needs to be painless.

The appointment card should say something like "To cancel this appointment online, go to:
http://www.suht.nhs.

uk/cancel/ and enter the appointment code: ab38nn9" and that page should give the same information as on the card was and offer a big "cancel" button.

Afterwards it should thank you for being considerate of others.

It should use POST and not be cached in the browser for privacy. It's essential you don't get asked "Mum, why did you have an appointment with Dr Foster, the oncologist?"

(the ab38nn9 would be a unique code, as short as possible but containing a checksum and avoiding confusing letters like il10oO which are hard to transcribe correctly.)

The voter registration site (linked on the cards which come through the door) is an example of this done well.

If this seems a bit obsessive, it's because I hate to see good ideas ruined by bad design.
All looks like good stuff to me!

The NHS is always talking about how it wants patients to help redesign its services - can I suggest that you put your ideas down on paper and contact the hospitals Communications department?
[quote][p][bold]cgutteridge[/bold] wrote: An online cancellation form is a good idea, but needs to be painless. The appointment card should say something like "To cancel this appointment online, go to: http://www.suht.nhs. uk/cancel/ and enter the appointment code: ab38nn9" and that page should give the same information as on the card was and offer a big "cancel" button. Afterwards it should thank you for being considerate of others. It should use POST and not be cached in the browser for privacy. It's essential you don't get asked "Mum, why did you have an appointment with Dr Foster, the oncologist?" (the ab38nn9 would be a unique code, as short as possible but containing a checksum and avoiding confusing letters like il10oO which are hard to transcribe correctly.) The voter registration site (linked on the cards which come through the door) is an example of this done well. If this seems a bit obsessive, it's because I hate to see good ideas ruined by bad design.[/p][/quote]All looks like good stuff to me! The NHS is always talking about how it wants patients to help redesign its services - can I suggest that you put your ideas down on paper and contact the hospitals Communications department? Redback

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