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Missed Appointment

From Jae Evans

Friday, 4 October 2019

I recently waited 6 weeks for an appointment with my preferred GP: I am a mature patient, with a chronic condition and suffer poor memory but I should like to stress, that I have never before missed an appointment - thanks to this service.  

I signed up for NHS TEXT reminders - years ago.  A diary is not enough sometimes ...  Unfortunately, on this occasion (and for the first time) my reminder TEXT did not come yesterday, and as a result, today, I missed my very valuable appointment. I did however, receive a TEXT telling me I had missed my appointment within 30 minutes of this.

I called the surgery immediately to apologise and to explain my predicament: the young women on reception told me this: 'You must understand that these NHS TEXT reminders are done by computer - not a person, and therefore, they cannot be guaranteed.'

This - although a rational comment, is somewhat absurd.  It was unhelpful and I felt the tone of her 'come-back' was condescending. I wonder if anyone else has experienced this?  And to whom do I report this anomaly?

From Susan Quick

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Hi Jae yes I fear I have also had less than helpful assistance at Hebden Bridge surgery. I'm 68 and suffer acute memory failure due to head injury.  I now always go to Mytholmroyd surgery. In addition to being very helpful they have a daily walk-in surgery so I may have to sit a wait for an hour but can guarantee being seem on the day rather than having to wait months at Hebden. Also it's on the main road and the bus stops outside so it is far more accessible than Hebden surgery. 

From Jilly S

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Hello Jae and Susan, following on from your messages about missing GP appointments, would it be possible for you to harness the technology in your phones/tablets to record the date and time of your future appointments and set various reminder alarms to give you notice to attend on the right day and at the right time?

Please don’t think I’m being patronising or disablist (I have a child who is registered blind so I’m highly alert to the ‘othering’ of people with disabilities) but did you know that missed appointments cost the NHS approximately £220 Million last year?

From Jae Evans

Friday, 13 December 2019

Jilly, I'd like to say, thanks for your contribution and suggestions, but I won't because you were patronising.  We have poor memory - we are ill. We are not stupid. We are responsible adults.  I set up the NHS reminder on my phone precisely because my memory is poor; I also, have not one but two, other reminders.  It was a bad day for me when I felt completely overwhelmed. My NHS reminder did not come; and I subsequently, overlooked both my other reminders.  But what frustrated me more, was reading your 'reminder' to us both, that missed appointments cost the NHS millions.  And you really don't hear this as patronising?  I felt wretched enough.  Your quite unnecessary 'reminder' of our misdemeanors was unnecessary - and terribly pompous and yes, patronising.