I say again, doctors are the only profession that exceed my expectation. At the other extreme, phone systems consistently disappoint me. This is because I can remember the halcyon days when if you phoned the doctor’s surgery, or a hospital, you got through to a real live telephonist. It’s interesting that that really important services, such as the 999 emergency, still employ a real telephonist. All other services bamboozle me with their recorded messages, befuddle me with options, and then more often than not, cut me off once I make my selection.
Until a doctors’ surgery provides a real live telephonist I will never believe that they truly put their patients ahead of procedures and performance targets. I am not sure if it makes matters better or worse that all surgeries are equally cowardly, in that they all hide under the excuse that everyone else provides only a recorded options menu service.
To step back, and take a reality check: there are 2,000,000 + people unemployed in Great Britain, would it not better everyone if 5,000 of them were employed as surgery telephonists, rather than drawing unemployment benefit?
Update 1: I hear that my surgery now has 5 receptionists on duty for the morning rush-hour. It was probably coincidence that two weeks previously I wrote a letter of complaint / constructive criticism concerning the telephone appointment system. On the other hand, patient feedback may be factor in changing surgery procedures.
Update 2: There are now 7 options when you phone our surgery. My pleas are that a) they don’t change that, number 1 always = emergency, 2 = today’s appointments, etc. b) Pie in the sky maybe, but don’t all surgeries use the same numbers for the same service. I am not a great fan of central government interference, but just when standardisation would be a good idea, its nowhere to be found.
Doctors’ Phone Service – Plan B
It seems that at least for the short-term we have to accept a recorded message service. Taking a shot at a surgery’s phone service is an easy target. Thus a better question is, ‘What can we do to make the phone appointments system better’?
Facility to Text Cancellations.
Contact Guy Thomas