Frustration at Northampton hospital clinic after calls to crucial phone line go unanswered
Northampton General Hospital bosses have apologised to patients of a facial treatment clinic after many struggled to arrange appointments.
The maxillofacial unit based in Billing Road offers a range of treatments related to the face - from mouth cancer, to jaw problems, orthodontics and dental surgery.
But patients of the clinic have told the Chronicle and Echo how they have simply been unable to make appointments in recent weeks due to the fact the phone lines there were not being answered.
The hospital said the problem was down to "staffing gaps", which have now been filled.
But yesterday, when the Chron tried the number for surgery enquiries at the clinic, this newspaper was met with an automated message stating no one was available to receive the call.
One 70-year-old man explained how he is still waiting to book an appointment for routine tooth surgery - nine months after his initial consultation.
His two previous appointments were cancelled - firstly because staff sent his surgery confirmation to the wrong address and secondly because the surgery was booked in the wrong department.
He has been trying to call to rearrange an appointment since July - but has not been able to get through, despite persistent attempts.
He said: "You leave a message and no-one gets back to you.
"There is no-one in the department to deal with phone calls - so how do they arrange the appointments for surgery?
"I'm trying to find out why I haven't had any appointment and what's going on but there is no one available to deal with me."
A spokesman for Northampton General Hospital said: “We’re very sorry that some appointments have been cancelled and that patients have been struggling to get through to the maxillofacial department on the phone.
"We have had some staffing gaps but these are now being filled. We have a full programme of improvements taking place within maxillofacial, which includes how outpatients are scheduled, and improved customer care."