Harrogate hospital introduces new appointments system
Last updated Jan 17, 2024

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust has introduced a new way for patients to book, cancel or change appointments.

Since December, people are now transferred directly to the department they require, where they can liaise with staff directly.

By contrast, patients were previously directed to a general appointments department, which was run by four members of the medical records team.

A spokesperson for the trust told the Stray Ferret:

“The aim being to improve efficiency and patient experience as those dealing with the calls are experts in the patient pathway for the speciality in question.

“Patients can speak directly with the service they have an appointment with.”

As part of the new system, people still call the same phone number to make an enquiry about their appointment, the spokesperson added, and said the difference being patients now select an option to transfer them through to speciality teams directly.

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However, the shake-up has already proved unpopular with one patient.

The person, who asked to remain anonymous, contacted the Stray Ferret after struggling to change an eye appointment at the hospital.

She said:

“The result is that anyone trying to make, change or cancel an appointment has to go through a series of options to get through to an individual department – eyes for instance – instead of going through the appointments centre as it used to be.

“I tried to do this recently. The phone just rang and rang. No one picked up. I tried again and again with no success.”

After struggling to change her appointment, she decided to go to the hospital to do so. While there, the woman voiced her concerns about the new system to a staff member:

“I was told by a very unhappy member of staff that as well as doing their normal job managing a clinic, they are now having to take all the calls that would previously have gone through the appointment centre.

“I found this very concerning. People are busy. If they try and call the hospital and can’t get through, are they going to be able to keep trying and trying? Or are they simply going to be a “no show” costing the NHS more money in wasted appointments?”