Outpatients at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary have expressed their frustration and anger after a glitch in the system meant they were unable to contact the Appointments Centre.
One Huddersfield woman made TWO DOZEN attempts to find out when her partner would receive a check-up at the cardiology unit after suffering a heart attack three months previously. She said the system error left her feeling anxious.
Other patients attempting to make new appointments or confirm date changes were left puzzled by the breakdown.
Calls to the HRI switchboard were met with an apology and an explanation that the system was “having major problems.”
Said one woman: “I have tried a couple of dozen times since Saturday to get through. It makes me feel very frustrated, and I am anxious. My partner is angry. We have been put on hold. He has some concerns following his heart attack but he can’t get any further with it because we can’t get to speak to anyone.”
Callers to the Appointments Centre heard a message that said Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust was in the process of updating electronic patient records. It then said it was unable to take calls.
Another woman, also from Huddersfield, went online and discovered that her neurology appointment in June had been moved forward to next week but that she had been unable to verify it.
“I’ve had no text, no letter. If I hadn’t gone online I wouldn’t have known anything so I would have missed the new appointment. I’ve been trying to verify it but can’t get through. I must have tried 10 times over two days. I haven’t been able to speak to anyone medical about it.”
Helen Barker, the Trust’s chief operating officer, said: “As part of the implementation of our new electronic patient record system, we experienced technical problems with the transfer of some patient information into the appointments system. We have been working to resolve this as fast as we can.
“From this afternoon (Thursday) the Appointments Centre will be open for all patients who need to book a first appointment or who have been given an appointment that they would like to change or cancel. We will be able to book follow-up appointments from Monday. Patients should be assured that this will not delay their appointment. I am sorry for any upset or inconvenience this has caused.”