Today was a bit of an eye opener for me. I was in the doctor’s surgery when it opened at 8am and heard the deluge of calls as the phone lines opened. Now most people were booking for appointments that day if they could get them, but there were a few not looking to be seen urgently.
I heard one half of a telephone conversation where someone was trying to book a 6 week post natal checkup for another person. First of all it was ‘she should have booked it ages ago’. When I went through my pregnancy at this surgery some years ago, I am reasonably sure that no one said anything about how long in advance to book an appointment. Also, you’d think a receptionist would cut a new mother a bit of slack.
Then there was the statement, well you’ve come through on the emergency line. Apparently, between 8 and 8.30 is just for urgent appointments. This is the first I’ve heard of this: there is nothing on the website or around the surgery as far as I can see. Surely, if you want to arrange an appointment you ring up to book it. Also, given that they release appointments first thing or at lunch time, it’s generally best to ring then or you find they have no appointments to offer you.
I missed the rest of the call as I was called into my appointment then, but it did get me thinking. Why does it have to be so hard to book an appointment? Why can’t the receptionists be nicer? And why can’t surgeries get a handle on customer service? To be fair, some are probably better than others, but I only have the experience of one as I’ve been with the same surgery since birth.