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"Outpatient Paediatrics Appointment Sligo University Hospital"

About: Sligo General Hospital

(as a service user),

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed in so many ways how we all live in society and this of course includes the format of how healthcare services can provide care to patients/service users. I know the HSE particularly has had to adapt to new ways of working and face-to-face interactions with patients have largely been replaced by telephone and video platforms. It was not surprising to me then to receive a letter from Sligo University Hospital notifying me that my son's review  outpatient appointment with the Paediatric team would take place on the phone (not face-to-face). I absolutely agree that in the times we are living, there is no need for me to bring my child to the hospital for his review. However, I was so frustrated to see that apart from the letter  outlining the date and number they would be calling from, there was no reference to a time or any time frame during the day that the call would take place. I have never received a face-to-face appointment that does not have a time and I think it is simply not good enough that the hospital should think a review appointment provided in this way is sufficient. 

When we got the letter I did suspect that when they would call my mobile on that day, that I may not be able to take the call as I would be working. So I thought perhaps a message may be left or they would telephone my husbands number which would be available on the medical file. When at work on the appointment day, I noticed I had missed one call from the hospital number which I was unfortunately unable to answer. There was no voicemail left so I thought perhaps they may have called my husband. When I came home, my husband told me he had not received any call. 

A letter arrived from the hospital this week which wrote that 'despite numerous attempts' the Paediatric team were unable to contact me on my mobile number. The letter went on to suggest I contact the Paediatric secretaries to update them if any of my contact details were incorrect and that another appointment would be rescheduled for my son in the coming months. 

I absolutely understand and agree that many healthcare appointments need to take place virtually in the current climate. However I think it is simply not good enough for Sligo University Paediatric department to think it is ok to send out appointments  with no specific/estimated time and to suggest that they made "numerous attempts" to contact the patient, when in this case, it is simply untrue. 

It would be great if the hospitals decision makers on these current practices were able to reconsider how they are providing appointments and make positive changes that would benefit everyone concerned.

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