Faff: How to politely chase a hospital appointment

Having successfully secured an appointment for my next round of eye surgery, I thought I’d share with you my top tips for chasing up a hospital appointment.

1. Make sure you have all your details available.

Make sure you’ve got the right phone number to call, your patient reference number and the details of your last appointment. All of these make it easier for whomever answers the phone to locate your records and assist you.

2. State the facts. 

No one in the NHS has time to listen to how your delayed appointment is making you feel. They need hard facts if they’re going to help you. When you last called, when your last appointment was, what they told you in that appointment. That kind of thing. Sure, you’re pi**ed off, but save that moan for over a cup of tea with your friends and family.

3. Be polite.

Sure, it’s annoying that you’re having to chase them up. But bear in mind it’s probably not the fault of the person you’re talking to on the phone. Don’t shout. Keep it civil. I’m a firm believer that people are more likely to help you if you’re nice.

4. But do stand your ground.

Being nice doesn’t mean being a pushover. I was repeatedly told that I would receive a call from the eye hospital. In the end I did, but not before me having to call them to chase up my appointment numerous times. I pointed this out in the politest way I knew how, a.k.a…

We spoke last Thursday, you were going to call me back, but I haven’t heard anything so I thought I’d give you a call to follow-up.

5. Get the name of who you need to speak to. 

Speaking to the right person not only saves time, but also makes them feel more accountable and more likely to do something about it.

6. Make sure you’re actually on the waiting list. 

The fact that I wasn’t was actually what delayed my appointment in the first place.

6. Make them remember you. 

I called once a week, every week. They knew who I was after a couple of calls. Although, do make them remember you for the right reasons (see point 3).

7. Appreciate there may be people more urgent than you on the waiting list. 

I know it’s annoying to be at the bottom of a waiting list. But in health-scare stakes it’s may be preferable to being pushed to the top. Weigh up how you are versus how urgent you think the treatment is and if you have any concerns let the hospital know.

8. Remember to say thank you. 

I made sure that once my appointment was sorted I gave proper grateful thanks for their help. Something along the lines of a genuine:

Thank you for your help, it’s really appreciated.

Should do the trick. Everyone likes to be thanked and I find it amazing how you can hear the person’s voice on the other end of the phone audibly change once you’ve given them genuine thanks.

What are your top tips for chasing up hospital appointments?

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