"Dental appointment system failure in Ipswich"

About: Ipswich Community Dental Clinic

(as the patient),

My story begins with a toothache. Starts late Friday night searing pain. Go whole weekend thinking Ipswich Community Dental Care is like Inala Dental Clinic where they aren't open on weekends. Suffered right through only to find out on Sunday evening(via internet) it was open half day on Saturday... hmm my bad.

Monday morning ring appointment call centre that is only available from 7:00 am to 8:00 am, a 1 hour window of opportunity just to try to get in to see a dentist. A series of calls from 7:45 am to 8:00 am lands me nowhere. Decide to walk down to the clinic and get there roughly 8:20 am. Wow receptionist and the pamphlets say no walk-ins, only via appointments made using the service. Try my luck to see if I could book, nope. Decide to try next morning.

Next morning (today). I ring the clinic to get the number of the call centre (via automated system) at 7:04 am. Ring the centre and got into a waiting queue from 7:06 am to 7:30 am when I hear the sound of a pickup, immediately followed by the sound of a dial tone when someone hangs up on you...! ! ! What? I waited 24 mins to get hung up on right after the thought that they better not behave like my phone service provider and do that. They did it! I couldn't believe that, so I rang back again, and again as I was hit with the busy unavailable phone tone from 7:30 am till 7:45 am, literally dialled, failed, redialled, failed... for 15 mins. Finally land in queue again from 7:45 right up till 8:04 am when I gave up waiting as I know the next thing to happen was either someone will pickup and say ring again tomorrow or get the hangup process again.

Searched the internet and found the website on how to provide feedback, their web page which listed - contact the clinic or facility. Thought I'd follow that procedure before trying the next. Rang the clinic sometime between 8:05 and 8:2 5am. I get a receptionist who would answer my enquiry of who do I speak to about this mornings events. Now I wasn't aggressive, didn't use any profanity, and remained civil. Told her what happened with the call centre and she immediately goes from nice and calm to passively aggressive with the response, 'That's not right, no, they always answer your call'. But I just told you what happened and why I can't get an appointment? Seeing as this wasn't going to get me anywhere I ask politely who I could raise the issue with. She said I needed to write a letter to the Head Dentist and gives me just the street number.

Next step according to the site is to fill out a form, done. Contact the liaison officer at the hospital via e-mail, done so with jpeg copies of the form. Hopefully he/she has better luck with getting anywhere with this.

Normally I find the experience at Ipswich Hospital is professional, and meets standards. The employee on the other end of my line... needs a serious re-training on professional integrity.

Final feedback venue, post on this site to warn others. I never had this problem with Inala Dental Clinic (closest one to where I lived at the time), and the last time I was in Ipswich for their dental service was 7 years ago. My how the times have changed. They have integrated a system that allows someone (don't know who) to deny public service, well, to the public.

What lesson have I learnt? I shouldn't rely on public health sectors for ALL my health needs and to just SUFFER IT OUT. This experience in no way detracts from the fact that the West Moreton Hospital does provide great service and care. But not all of their employees (or whoever they gave the job to for setting appointments) are on the ball.

Also Neurofen sales will increase in my local supermarkets as a result: ) My spouse and I sit and have a laugh at the absurdity of it, but when my painkiller stops working... it ain't all laughter.

To read a follow up from this story - https://www.patientopinion.org.au/opinions/60889

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