A cancer sufferer was told he could not book a hospital appointment - because records showed he was dead.Another case of ‘Computer says ‘No’..’, I suppose..?
Alan Campbell rang a booking system phone line after becoming worried that the disease may have spread to his throat.
But when he tried to make an appointment with the NHS Choose and Book system, a telephone operator informed him their records showed him as 'deceased'.
'When I rang to take take the appointment I was told, 'Sorry, we can't give you an appointment, our records show you are deceased'.So he did. Because we all know there’s not point in arguing with call centre staff, who are unable to deviate from their instructions.
'I said 'you're joking, I'm talking to you aren't I?' But they said 'you'll have to go back to your GP to get it sorted out'.'
Mr Campbell, who has also survived a stroke and a heart attack, contacted his doctor and was told the problem had been resolved - only to phone the Choose and Book system again to be told their records still showed he was dead.D’oh!
NHS Blackburn with Darwen Teaching Care Trust Plus, in Lancashire, which is responsible for the phone service, has now apologised for the error.Within 14 days? How about NOW?
Mr Campbell has been told he will contacted within 14 days to arrange an appointment with an oral and maxillofacial surgery specialist.
Janice Horrocks, executive director of Engagement Partnerships and Operational Development, said they were investigating the case, adding: 'We are sorry for the distress experienced by this patient.'I love that ‘experienced by’… Nivcely swerved, Janice!
What she should have apologised for was the distress caused to Mr Campbell, of course.
And no statement from an NHS media flack would be complete without the obligatory the-system-does-work-honest! Statement:
'We would like to reassure patients that using the Choose and Book system, which allows you to choose the hospital, time and date of your appointment, remains the fastest route to getting the quickest and most convenient hospital appointment for the care that you need.'Unless the NHS thinks you’re dead, that is.