A glitch with a new computer system which cost almost £1m has been causing chaos for people trying to book hospital outpatient appointments.
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust has received more than 250 complaints about appointment mix-ups after switching over to an automated booking system in mid-September.
Patients received out-of-date reminders saying their appointment could be cancelled unless they contacted the trust within a six days – then could not get through on the phone.
Others turned up for their appointments to find the hospital was not expecting them.
Diabetic eye patient, Colin Smith, 75, of Eastmoor, said: “I got a letter saying if I didn’t contact them in six days they’d tell my GP I wasn’t interested in treatment, but that was already four days in.
“I rang five or six times, 20 minutes on the phone each time, with no joy. Then I finally got through and they said there were no appointments.”
Mid Yorkshire said the cost of implementing its new Patient Administration System had so far come to £925,000.
A trust spokesperson said: “We are still investigating the cause of the issues within the call centre.
“This is likely to be due to a combination of factors and cannot be attributed solely to the fact that we have installed a new system.”
Mid Yorkshire had received 244 informal complaints and 16 formal complaints, and had contacted patients to resolve most of them.
Lynne Bentley-Hall, Mid Yorkshire’s associate director of operations, said: “If people ring us we will resolve the problem and they won’t lose their appointments.
“We are taking this really seriously as we know it’s a matter of distress for our patients and of real concern.
“We know there is a glitch in our system and we are doing everything we can to resolve it.
“We are in the process of training a number of additional staff as call handlers and putting additional people on the phones.”