Happy Patients #guestpost

imagesCAUP3U1DThe guest post today is from someone I don’t personally know, but with her permission I would like to share it with you, and to stress how important it is to keep patients informed when the Doctor or Nurse is running late. Quite often patients are not annoyed at the delay in their appointments, it the “not knowing and lack of communication” that can quite often bring on frustration and anger.

By informing the patients that there is a delay you are taking away a possible frustrated patient coming to the desk demanding to know what is happening when their appoitment times has come and gone – it then too late the damage is  already done – the patient is angry and you as the Receptionist is more than likely to get the brunt of it.

Guest post:

“I had a Hospital apt today at Aintree Hospital here in Liverpool mum came with me, the clinic was running late. Billy the senior HCA was rushing around everywhere making sure everyone was ok and informed us all of the delay “no wonder he’s so thin he never stands still” mum commented. We went through from 1 waiting room to another and was again informed of the delay that there were 3 doctors on and were doing their best. Around 10 minutes later mum started nattering to the lady sat next to her, the lady said “there is a delay my apt was at 10:30am” mum “it is what it is, where would we be without our NHS”. No amount of waiting time is a problem for me or my mum if it means we keep our NHS, I am NHS staff myself and I love our care system its the best in the world and we should all fight to keep it. The poor doctor I saw had a packet of biscuits on his desk to keep him going, clearly working through his lunch”


I have previously written a post on keeping patients informed:

When The Doctor/Nurse is running late. http://t.co/Tlnpi4OD



When The Doctor/Nurse is running late.

When a patient books in at the reception desk and you identify that the Doctor/Nurse or other healthcare professional is running more than half an hour behind schedule PLEASE inform the patient before they sit down.

No one likes to be kept waiting, but everyone would rather be told and given the option to wait or re book another appointment.

Lack of communication can often lead to a complaint or even worse someone getting aggressive.

When a patient comes to the desk you could say:

“I apologise but Dr Smith is running about 35 minutes late this morning – he had an emergency / visit to do. Would you like to wait or would you like to re-book another appointment?”

By doing this you are giving the patient a choice. If they choose to wait then they can not come back to the reception desk after 25 minutes and complain – which they more than likely would have done if they had not been informed.

  1. It also gives the patient a chance to go to the paper shop/car to get something to keep them occupied while waiting.
  2. They might want to make a phone call to tell someone who they are running late.
  3. They simply might need to go to the toilet.

They would be reluctant to do any of the 3 above if they did not know they were in for a wait – they would sit there waiting to be called in at any minute.

If the patient cannot wait for various reasons, it gives them the opportunity to re-book at a time suitable to them. By patients booking another appointment it will lessen the already late and give the Doctor / Nurse a change to catch up.

Always try to defuse any potential complaint. It is always better to try and solved a situation sooner rather than later.

Always look ahead.