23rd Oct, 2019

Bromsgrove man slams 'inaudible' messages being sent to confirm or cancel hospital appointments

A BROMSGROVE man has contacted The Standard after confusion surrounding hospital appointments because of a ‘non-understandable’ automated voice system.

The resident received two messages on his phone about an appointment for the cardiology unit at the Alexandra Hospital. But he said ‘he could not make head nor tail of them’.

The messages either confirm the appointment or tell the patient it has been cancelled but he said the voice was so inaudible he could not work out which it was.

When he called the hospital to check if his appointment was still going ahead or not, he said he was told by staff there they had received numerous calls about the system.

“You just could not understand what it was saying.

“The staff at the hospital said a system which was supposed to make things easier was actually making them worse as they were answering more calls about the confusing messages.”

We contacted Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust about the problem and were told it was happening when people gave landline numbers rather than mobiles.

The problem was not down to the hospital’s system but the way the messages, meant to be in text format, were being conveyed.

When a landline number was given, the text message would go through the BT answer service and was being read out by the telephone company’s automated voice.

The message when sent was meant to be read as a text.

He urged patients when booking appointments to give a mobile number where possible so the messages could be sent in the correct way, avoiding any confusion.

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