Pinderfields Hospital appointments chaos - ‘I will sort it out’ says health boss

Stephen Eames - Chief Executive of Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust. (D525H405)
Stephen Eames - Chief Executive of Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust. (D525H405)

The boss of the district’s hospitals has made a personal commitment to sort out long-standing problems with booking outpatient appointments.

Stephen Eames, chief executive of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, has intervened after patients received the wrong letters, had their appointments cancelled at short notice and could not be seen at their nearest hospital.

Last December, the Express revealed that the Trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals, received more than 250 complaints about appointment mix-ups after switching to an automated computer system which cost almost £1m.

Patients received out-of-date reminders saying their appointment could be cancelled unless they contacted the trust within a six days – then could not get through on the phone.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.

Now Mid Yorkshire has revealed that 2,000 letters for outstanding appointments have been sent out in the past two weeks as it steps up its efforts to tackle the problem.

Mr Eames said: “The quality of care people receive when they attend an outpatient clinic is good but there are problems with the basic administration of the system which give people a bad experience and undermines public confidence.

“This is the biggest single reason why people complain about our services.

“The causes for this are complicated but, if we want local people to choose to use our hospitals, we have to get the system sorted once and for all.”

Mid Yorkshire said a backlog of delayed appointments where patients had been asked to call the Trust to book a slot had been cleared, and all appointments were now being booked within six weeks of referral.

Measures had been taken to prevent multiple letters being sent to the same patients were being taken, and outpatient clinics now had reception cover for all the time they were open.

Staff were also being retrained and the process for organised transport for people to get to appointments was being streamlined, Mid Yorkshire said.