Wednesday, 16 June 2010

"Press One For St Peter..."

A cancer sufferer was told he could not book a hospital appointment - because records showed he was dead.

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'.
Another case of ‘Computer says ‘No’..’, I suppose..?
'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'.

'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'.'
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.
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.

Mr Campbell has been told he will contacted within 14 days to arrange an appointment with an oral and maxillofacial surgery specialist.
Within 14 days? How about NOW?
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.

5 comments:

The Filthy Engineer said...

"executive director of Engagement Partnerships and Operational Development"

What sort of job is that?

AntiCitizenOne said...

a non-job by the sounds of it.

JuliaM said...

Yup, most certainly. Unless they expect these sorts of things to be so frequent as to justify the post..?

Joanne said...

I went to a hospital appointment today and found out that I had been declared deceased as of September 2004. I don't feel too bad, considering, but it was a bit of a shock to find the appointment cancelled. Luckily my consultant knows my case well and was certain I looked fit enough for an appointment to be squeezed in. Goodness knows who made the mistake - I've certainly been alive for the last 6 years and attending appointments regularly in perrson rather than from beyond the grave!

JuliaM said...

It seems it's not just the NHS either!