Outpatients’ appointments booking telephone line – call waiting times update | News and events

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Outpatients’ appointments booking telephone line – call waiting times update

We recognise that due to high call volumes to the outpatients’ appointments booking telephone line, you have recently experienced delays when calling to book an appointment.

We appreciate the concern and frustration this may cause and our teams are working hard to reduce waiting times as soon as possible.

We have experienced a significant increase in demand, particularly due to the impact of the recent IT issues across our hospitals, which affected the outpatients’ appointments booking service.

We have taken the following actions to reduce call waiting times:

  • Additional colleagues are available at peak times
  • When calling to book your appointment, you will join a queue and be informed of your number in the queue, which will be regularly updated as you wait. At peak times, we may need to close the queue temporarily to new callers, due to reaching maximum call waiting volume – in this instance, you will hear a message asking you to call back later
  • You can use the text function to confirm, cancel, and rebook appointments, as an alternative to calling our teams. To do so, please respond to the text message you will receive seven days before your appointment. Please respond within 48 hours of receiving the message.

The message will appear as below:

You are required to attend your [specialty] appointment on [date] at [time]. This will be located in [location].

Reply 'YES' to confirm attendance, 'REBOOK' to rearrange, 'CANCEL' to be discharged from this specialty. You must respond within 48 hours of receiving this text message to use this service. Thank you.

You will then receive an automated message with next steps.

We are also investigating additional options to reduce call waiting times and improve your experience.

During this time, please consider if calling to cancel or rebook your appointment is necessary, to support us to manage demand for patients booking a new appointment.

To contact the outpatients' appointments team, please telephone 01279 827391, Monday to Friday, 8am-8pm. The peak times are 8am-10am, 12pm-2pm and 3pm-6pm. Please have your NHS or booking reference number available.

Please be assured that if you are in the queue, a member of the team will answer your call as soon as possible.

We are working to restore our normal service for our patients and we apologise for the inconvenience caused – thank you for your patience.

Inpatient comment:

Everyone offered words of such reassurance and kindness. I felt so cared for and the communication with me at all times was fantastic.