Appointments

Appointments

Useful information about attending your appointment(s) at our Trust. 

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MY appointment reminder system

Patients who do not attend (DNA) outpatient appointments across our hospitals have a direct impact on the length of time that other patients wait for their care. This is because the missed appointment could have been given to another patient. 
To help reduce missed appointments, we have put in place a new system that uses information from our appointment system to call patients with an automated recorded message reminding them of the date and time of their appointment.


When will I receive a call?

Patients will receive reminder calls about a week before the appointment date and will use both landline numbers and mobiles to try to contact the patient. 


How the system works

  • The recorded message for patients asks them to confirm whether they will be attending their hospital appointment by pressing keys on the phone key pad.
  • The system does not delete appointments but our appointments centre team will cancel appointments.
  • If patients want to change the date and time they are asked to call the appointments centre to rearrange their appointment.

Which patients will be called?

  • The reminder calls will not be used for some specialities where it is not appropriate, such as genito-urinary medicine and for palliative care patients.
  • Initially, the system will connect to our patient administration system for all new and review outpatient consultant appointments.
  • What are the benefits of using this system?
  • The verbal message will help remind patients who have forgotten their appointment date, mislaid their appointment letter or have difficulty reading.
  • Most importantly, it is hoped the new system will help reduce the amount of missed appointments across our hospitals.

FAQs

Why do I have to wait so long when I call to book my follow-up appointment?

Our Trust runs hospitals in Wakefield, Pontefract and Dewsbury, serves over 500,000 people and our appointments centre takes approximately 1,000 calls per day.

Our centre employs specialist staff at the Trust who are trained to book an appointment for you as soon as possible and a member of the team will take your details and confirm an appointment as soon they can.  They will always aim to get you an appointment within six weeks.

There are also plans in place to introduce a direct booking service across all hospital specialities so that you can book your appointment with us directly, at your GP surgery when you are referred, or online at your convenience.  This new service will also have a dedicated booking line for patients who don't have internet access.

Why do I constantly get an engaged tone when I call the follow-up appointments line?

Previously, when a certain number of calls were coming through to the appointments centre, the system would prevent calls and the callers would receive an engaged tone.  We have fixed this problem so that callers will have the option to use our 'call-back' facility when there are large volumes of calls. If you are calling to change or cancel an appointment, you can also do this online - Change or cancel a follow up appointment.

What are the opening times for the appointments centre to book my follow-up appointment? Can I call outside working hours?

The appointment centre is open from 8.30am to 7pm and from 9am to 12pm on Saturdays for people who need to call outside normal working hours.  You can still access the online appointments form and the web page after normal working hours.

What can I expect to happen when I come for my follow-up appointment?

Our staff will ask you details about your condition. They may also want to know what medication you are currently taking. Depending on the nature of your complaint, the consultant may want to do an examination. Further treatment and tests may be dealt with as part of a review appointment unless it states otherwise in your hospital letter or if the consultant sends you for further treatment/tests on the day of your appointment.

My follow-up appointment is on a Saturday, is this right?

Some clinics do run over a weekend and also on an evening.

Appointments Centre

Where we are

The Appointments Centre is based at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

Opening times

The Appointments Centre is open from 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday.

Who we are

The appointments centre is made up of two teams - call handlers and appointment coordinators. Each team has their own supervisor who is responsible for the teams day-to-day workload.

All team members have a flexible approach to their work and both teams have the skills to adapt to either role as the need arises. They are people from various backgrounds. The whole spectrum of age groups compromises of university graduates to post-retirement staff and are a mix of male and females. 

The team is committed to providing high quality patient care, and are currently working with Wakefield college in undertaking NVQs in Customer Service. The appointment centre team work very closely with other key teams within the four hospital sites, to ensure they are confidently communicating the most up-to-date and accurate information to patients who use our services.

Did you know?

The appointments centre team won an award in our staff oscars held in April in the 'improving working lives' category. 

What we do

The Appointment Centre team provides a responsive and effective service for the majority of Mid Yorkshire outpatient appointments.  The team is a central point of contact for hospital appointments - both new and follow up appointments (excluding radiology*).

Some of the responsibilities of the team include:

  • Making the majority of first outpatient appointments
  • Receiving referrals everyday
  • Checking and updating patient details on the referral letter on our patient administration system
  • Distributing referrals (within 24 hours) to consultants across our hospital sites for them to review and prioritise to ensure patients are seen in the appropriate timescales 
  • Referrals are then returned to the appointment centre for the appointment to be made.

*If you have been referred for a radiology appointment (such as an x-ray), please call 01924 541000.
 
Appointment coordinators

In the appointment centre, we have a team of appointment coordinators whose responsibilities are to work closely with a speciality team and ensure patient appointments are made in line with the local access targets.

Short notice appointments

It is important that patient contact details are up-to-date on our system as occasionally clinics are organised at short notice. The appointment centre team will endeavour to contact patients to discuss any short notice appointments and agree attendance to ensure that the appointment slots are not wasted.

Follow up appointments

The Appointment Centre also books review appointments. Each day we receive notification from the hospital notifying us of a patient's discharge then arrange to book a review appointment. A letter is then sent in the post. 

The team also books review appointments for secretaries and other departments. For example, if a patient is sent for an investigation/scan, the appointments team is responsible for booking a review appointment to see the consultant in clinic for the results.

Follow up line number

Patients can also telephone the appointment centre on the follow up appointment line where they can book, cancel or rearrange their appointments.

Our dedicated appointments centre can be contacted on 01924 541000.

If you are calling the appointment centre to say you cannot attend please give us as much notice as you can to enable us to offer the appointment to another patient. Our telephones tend to be very busy in the mornings so calling in the afternoon may result in your call being answered more quickly.

If we are experiencing a high volume of calls when you call you will be offered to leave a voice mail. The appointments centre will be notified that you have left a voicemail and an appointment coordinator will deal with your request. Please consider using this function as it will avoid you holding on the phone for an answer.
It is also worth noting that the number of call handlers that are on duty each day means that although you may experience a queue, your wait should be short as your call will be directed to the first available call handler.

Partial booking

Our Appointments Centre is launching a new service for follow up outpatient appointments. Currently, our follow up outpatient appointment letters are sent to patients six weeks before their appointment - on a date and time provided by us. If the date and time provided is not convenient, patients are asked to call us to rearrange.  

Using the new system, patients will be sent a letter six weeks before their appointment asking them to call us to arrange their appointment on a convenient date and time for them. Initially, the new system will be in place for all ENT follow-up appointments (due more than six weeks in the future) and plans are in place to roll this out to all outpatients by the end of the year.  

It is hoped the new system will mean fewer changes to clinic appointments, less wasted clinic appointments if patients forget to turn up and a better use of clinics to help reduce waits.

Our dedicated Appointments Centre can be contacted on 01924 541000.

Working with our GPs

The Appointment Centre team is in regular contact with GPs and practice staff to support patients by enquiring where patients referrals are in the hospital system. The team contact GP practices when there are queries regarding patient referral letters for when a patient attends clinic.

How to contact us

Our dedicated appointments centre can be contacted on 01924 541000.
If you are calling the appointment centre to say you cannot attend please give us as much notice as you can to enable us to offer the appointment to another patient. Our telephones tend to be very busy in the mornings so calling in the afternoon may result in your call being answered more quickly.

If we are experiencing a high volume of calls when you call you will be offered to leave a voice mail. The appointments centre will be notified that you have left a voicemail and an appointment coordinator will deal with your request. Please consider using this function as it will avoid you holding on the phone for an answer.
It is also worth noting that the number of call handlers that are on duty each day means that although you may experience a queue, your wait should be short as your call will be directed to the first available call handler.

Feedback

The Appointment Centre team is committed to providing a quality service to all its patients and visitors.  In order for us to keep providing this service, we would welcome any comments you may have in order to improve the service.

If you would like to comment on our service you can do so in a number of ways
.

Cancel or change appointment

If your appointment is more than two working days away, you can click on the link below to amend or cancel an appointment. Please note - this is not a medical advice service. Medical advice can be obtained from your GP.

Form to change or cancel your appointment 

Please note: There are some appointments which cannot be changed using this form. Please contact us on the telephone number on your original appointment letter or through switchboard 01924 541000 and ask for the relevant department.

Please contact these departments directly

Pinderfields and Pontefract:

Dewsbury

Appliances

Audiology

Colposcopy

Cardiology tests

Dermatology follow ups

Dermatology

Diabetes follow ups

Gastroscopy

Fast track

Mental Health

Haematology follow ups

Vasectomy

Harrison Wing or Clayton eye centre

 

Obstetrics

 

Orthoptist appointments

 

Physiology (Pinderfields and Pontefract)

 

Rapid Access

 

Rehabilitation Unit

 

For radiology (x-ray), please call 01924 512266

Radiology appointments

Our diagnostics appointments centre currently manages radiology appointments, such as x-ray, ultrasound and CT scans.
Following a GP referral or outpatient appointment at our Trust, patients can call the centre to arrange their radiology appointment directly.
The centre is currently taking between 400 and 450 calls every day. Currently the centre is open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
Patients can also use an answerphone facility during busy times.

  • Contact us on 01924 512266 for radiology appointments. Open from 8am to 6pm on weekdays.
  • For other appointments, for example, new and review outpatients appointments please visit My Appointment 

Follow up appointments

The appointment centre also books follow up appointments. Each day we receive notification from our hospital wards notifying us that a patient has been discharged home requiring an appointment. The appointment is booked and a letter with the appointment details is then sent in the post. 

The team also books follow ups for secretaries and other departments so if you are sent for an investigation/scan, the appointments team is responsible for booking a review appointment to see the consultant in clinic for the results of the test.