Three months to plan routine appointment

Clive Harvey from Farthinghoe has had problems getting NHS appointments at The Horton Hospital,Banbury.'120606M-B426
Clive Harvey from Farthinghoe has had problems getting NHS appointments at The Horton Hospital,Banbury.'120606M-B426
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AN investigation has been launched after a man from Farthinghoe spent three months trying to arrange a routine hospital appointment, having received five confirmation letters and countless phones calls contradicting them.

When Clive Harvey, 65, received a letter in March saying he had an appointment with a dermatology specialist 25 miles away at the Churchill Hospital at 9am on a Monday morning, he thought it was sensible to rearrange the appointment for the Horton Hospital in Banbury. Besides the long journey Mr Harvey would have had to travel through one of the region’s most notorious congestion hotspots at rush hour.

Three months later, and after his MP Andrea Leadsom wrote to the Oxfordshire University Hospital’s Trust (OUHT) Mr Harvey this week received a letter say that a formal investigation had been launched. Mr Harvey said he cannot fault the medical care of the health service having previously been treated for a heart condition, but is worried a new appointment system and call centre is not working properly.

He said: “The medical care of the NHS is brilliant, you can’t fault them, but what are they doing with the appointment system? This new system is using one of those dreaded call centres. Obviously the call centre doesn’t know what’s happening. I was told the specialist only does appointments at the Horton on a Monday, so even if I hadn’t bothered trying to change the first appointment it I would have turned up to the Churchill and she would have been in Banbury.

Besides the delay receiving treating Mr Harvey has had to postpone a holiday due to the mix ups and added: “I’m 65 and still fit and able, but this might be happening to people less able to fight the system.”

A spokesman for OHUT said: “We have received a letter of complaint from Mr Harvey via his MP, Andrea Leadsom. This was received on 24 May and is currently being investigated. The Trust will respond to Mr Harvey and to Mrs Leadsom as soon as it is able.

“In the meantime, the Trust apologises for the inconvenience caused to Mr Harvey.”