A patient copied us in on a letter to the head honcho at the Choose & Book HQ.
Here are a few 'choice' excerpts:
After several phone calls I successfully arranged an appointment at Hospital X
A week later I received an undated letter stating that this appointment had been cancelled "due to unforeseen circumstances" and that "a new appointment will be posted". The explanation is pure bureaucratic gobbledegook which tells the patient nothing - which is, one assumes, the intention.
I then received a letter offering me an appointment at Hospital Y. No mention was made of Hospital X, my preferred 'choice'. When I phoned for an explanation I was told that Hospital X does not offer the service I need.
Why give me an appointment at Hospital X if they don't provide the service? And when the error was spotted why not offer me an explanation?
I then received another appointment, this time for Hospital X which, as you'll see above, does not offer the service. Which of my two appointments should I attend?
I have a lifetime's experience of dealing with mindless bureaucracies and this one takes the biscuit. My complaint is not about your very courteous staff, but about your system which, I invite you to agree, seems to be completely defective. How do seriously ill or confused patients cope with this?
To cap it all, several weeks after this started, I have now received another letter, signed by you, berating me for not having booked my appointment yet!
This letter is being copied only to my GP. Before advising a wider audience of the major shortcomings in the way the 'Choose & Book' system operates I would welcome your comments.