"Difficulty cancelling an outpatient appointment"

About: Box Hill Hospital

(as a parent/guardian),

I was trying to cancel a Box Hill plastics outpatient appointment, and was on hold for 30 minutes to speak to someone and was still 12th in the queue. I rang back again and experienced long delays and gave up because I was at work and couldn't stay on the phone for that amount of time. Then received a letter from outpatients to say that two chances are given to attend outpatients and because the appointment was not attended or cancelled, one chance had been revoked.

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Responses

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

picture of Alan Lilly

Dear Molly

Many thanks for sharing your story on Patient Opinion. As you may be aware, we did receive another similar posting just a couple of days ago. As a result of the feedback, I am delighted to report that we are planning to make some immediate changes.

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.

Again, please do accept my apologies for this inconvenience and also, please be reassured that we are trying to minimise waiting times and make some larger scale improvements at the same time.

So, thank you for taking the time to share your story and helping us improve our responsiveness to the community we serve.

Kind regards, Alan Lilly

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

picture of Alan Lilly

Dear Molly

By way of an update, I am delighted to let you know that we have now updated our "on hold" messages and now provide information to "holding" patients about making alternative contact via email. I know this will be a welcome change and we are so pleased to have done this following feedback like yours.

I have attached a transcript of the messages for you to read below (under my sign-off) but I wanted to show you what a difference feedback makes for us and for our patients.

Thanks again for taking the time to share your story. I hope you can see that we have been reading and listening. We have learned lots from experiences shared on Patient Opinion.

Kind regards and many thanks, 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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