Edgware pensioner's hospital appointment mix-up

Times Series: Staff failed to warn Mr Shah his appointment had been cancelled for three hours Staff failed to warn Mr Shah his appointment had been cancelled for three hours

A pensioner was left fuming after hospital staff failed to tell him no doctor was on duty to see him - three hours after he arrived for his appointment.

Laxmichand Shah, of Bideford Close, Edgware, was due to have an endoscopy at St Mark’s Hospital, in Harrow, on Monday, December 23.

But despite arriving 30 minutes early for his appointment - and taking two buses to the Watford Road hospital, reception staff did not let him know his 1.30pm appointment had been cancelled.

The 77-year-old said: “I am very disappointed and unhappy. I waited till 3.30pm and no one called me to see the doctor or assistant.

“I went to ask the nurse in the waiting room why there was so much delay. A male nurse went in to see the doctor and came back.

“He told me my usual doctor was not in the office but I agreed to wait because another clinic team member would handle my case.

“On my request he again went to the doctor’s office and said that there was no other doctor on duty in the office today and the appointment was cancelled now.”

Dejected, Mr Shah left the hospital just after 4pm and did not arrive home until 6.30pm.

He added: “The simple lack of communication with its patients is staggering. I wasted nearly eight hours from house to house.

“Even in the A&E department it takes about four hours and this was completely unacceptable and a total mess.

“I have asked the hospital to transfer my details to Edgware Community Hospital. I do not blame any individuals but the system of communication at the hospital itself.”

Tina Benson, director of operations at North West London Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I would like to say sorry to Mr Shah. What happened was not acceptable and we understand his annoyance and frustration.

“The clinician who was due to see patients in this outpatient clinic was not available and we are currently investigating this.

“Despite our best efforts we were unable to find another clinician to run the clinic at such short notice and therefore had to cancel four appointments on the day. We are sorry that it took a long time on the day for this to be communicated to Mr Shah. 

“Patients affected are being reimbursed their travel costs and we have provided them with another date for their appointment as a matter of urgency."

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