Nurse on phone

NHS Highland pilot weekend booking service

NHS Highland are piloting an extension to their patient booking service in a bid to improve accessibility for patients.

As part of their trial, NHS Highland are opening their booking services on Saturday between 08:00 and 12:00 for six weeks, from the 6th of August. This in addition to its regular 09:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday operating hours.

Katherine Sutton, Chief Officer Acute Services from NHS Highland, said: “Our Patient Booking team takes calls from patients who have been written to and asked to contact us to arrange their appointment. Having the patient phone us to agree a time makes it a much more patient-centred service and, as the patient has agreed the appointment with us, there is less chance of cancellations or patients not being able to attend.

“However, we also recognise that with many people working during the week it is not always so easy to call us during the day. We’re trialling the Saturday date to see if this helps those contacting us about their appointments. Should it be successful we will look to make this move permanent.

“We hope by adding a Saturday service will give patients more accessibility in how they can contact us.”

The way in which patients access the booking service will not be changing – those awaiting an appointment will be sent a letter asking to contact the Patient Booking team via phone using the number included in the letter. The Patient Booking team will then work with the individual to arrange the most suitable time for an appointment.

Although opening services for just four hours on the weekend may seem like a minor adjustment, it could dramatically improve the way in which patients access the front door of NHS services, not only improving their initial pathway but enhance their overall experience too.

More information on the change is available here.

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