"Tired of being on hold"

About: Box Hill Hospital

(as a relative),

I am on my third attempt at telephoning the outpatients department trying to cancel an appointment. I have now been on hold for more than 30 minutes and still no one has answered. I tried the reception which was answered quickly but was told I have to contact outpatients. I asked whether there was an email address but was told no. I have not alternative but to either just not show up to the appointment or continue to wait. Not good enough! I have just been advised that my call is 15th in the queue!


Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of Alan Lilly

Dear fed up

Thank you for sharing your story on Patient Opinion. I am sorry that you were so long "on hold" and I do realise just how frustrating that can be especially when you had called the reception number too to try and speed things up.

Your suggestion to be able to email cancellations will be taken on board and I will discuss this with the Outpatients Clinic management team so thank you for sharing that idea too.

I will follow-up with a later posting if we are able to implement the change and in the meantime, if you wish to email me at alan.lilly@easternhealth.org.au, I will pass on that cancellation notification for you.

Once again, please accept my apologies, I know the Outpatients Department is very busy and I know your time is valuable too, so I will see what we can do to improve the situation.

Kind regards and thanks

Alan Lilly

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Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health We are preparing to make a change

picture of Alan Lilly

Dear fed up

Just following-up on my last posting, we have since received another story too whilst following-up the matters you had raised.

I am pleased to report that as a result of the feedback, we are planning on making some changes as quickly as we possibly can.

You may be aware that in initial letters to patients, we do advise of the outpatient email address for cancellations [outpatients@easternhealth.org.au] but often, patients do not have this handy when they call to cancel. Therefore, in order to improve our service, we are going to advise of this email address when the call comes into our Contact Centre and again during the "on hold" message. We are also going to look at having more information on Outpatients on our Eastern Health website as more and more of our patients have direct access to the internet.

We think these changes will make a big difference and provide an easy alternative to holding for longer periods of time on the phone.

Thank you again for sharing your story - this is a great example of how we are re-focusing our efforts based on your feedback.

Kind regards, Alan Lilly

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Update posted by fed up (a relative)

I am really pleased that this issue is being addressed. I would like to say however that I have the written appointment in front of me and there is definitely NO email address to contact for cancellations. There is a fax number but even that was "busy" and didn't go through. If there is an email address why then wasn't I informed of this when I telephoned reception??? Still, good news for other patients.

Thank you for your response.

Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of Alan Lilly

Thank you again fed up for your updated posting.

Let me check this out. I do appreciate you taking the time to let me know that this is not quite as we thought.

We are proceeding with the change but I am going to follow this up anyway.

Thanks again and I will be in touch.

Kind regards, Alan

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Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health We have made a change

picture of Alan Lilly

Dear fed up

Once again, I am sorry about the recent experience you had with us in trying to cancel your appointment but I am pleased to say that the "on hold" sequence of messages has been changed and now includes advice on the email contact options - all thanks to your feedback, so thank you! We have also changed the procedures to ensure that additional time is allocated for review of email contacts as well as full range of other improvements to improve the patient experience with our services.

We have also tailored the messages for those "on hold" during business hours and a different message for callers after the clinics have closed. I have copied the messages for you to review (further down, under my sign-off).

Thank you again for helping us make an improvement for the benefit of all current and future patients. You really have made a difference.

Kind regards, Alan Lilly

First on hold message

“Did you know you can contact Box Hill Hospital specialist clinics by emailing outpatients@easternhealth.org.au?

Emails are checked daily and are a great way to advise us if you are unable to attend a scheduled appointment as long as you give us at least 48 hours’ notice.”

First message played after 30 seconds.

Then played alternating with “Your call is (Position Number) in the queue.”

Alternating messages are played every 2 minutes for 60 minutes. Standard on hold music while the message is not being played.

Out of office hours message

“Thank you for calling Box Hill Hospital specialist outpatient clinics. Our office hours are between 9:00am and 4:00pm Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.

If you have a general enquiry or you wish to cancel or reschedule an appointment, please call back between these hours.

Alternatively you can email outpatients@easternhealth.org.au. Emails are checked daily Monday to Friday however we do need at least 48 hours notice if you wish to cancel or reschedule an appointment.

Thank you for your call. Goodbye.”

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