THOUSANDS of letters are winging their way to patients from Scarborough Hospital as a new appointments system comes into force.
Staff are in the process of cancelling and rebooking 12,000 follow-up appointments in a bid to improve the system for patients.
The new system, called “follow up partial booking”, has already proved successful at York Hospital, reducing the need to reschedule appointments.
Sarah Piper, head of operational efficiency, said the first batch of letters have now gone out asking people to phone up and make a new appointment.
She explained: “We’re cancelling every follow-up appointment post April 2. People will get a letter four weeks before they’re due for a follow up asking them to call us to make an appointment.”
The new system allows people to have some flexibility over their appointment, so they can make one that suits them.
Staff are expecting a high volume of calls and extra measures are being put in place to deal with this, such as a more advanced telephone system.
Miss Piper is confident the new system will be a success as she has worked with it previously in opthalmology at York Hospital.
She is asking people not to be concerned or alarmed if they receive a letter cancelling their appointment.
People are reassured that they will be seen and their appointment may even be sooner than the original one.
The move has been welcomed by Leo McGrory, chairman of Scarborough and District Local Involvement Network (LINk).
He said: “The old system was a disaster. One woman I know of had her appointment changed 11 times, which is completely unsatisfactory. Most people can understand the odd change of appointment, but not that many.”