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Saturday booking service could benefit NHS Highland patients

By John Davidson

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Patients will be able to call on a Saturday from August 6.
Patients will be able to call on a Saturday from August 6.

Patients trying to book appointments with NHS Highland services will be able to call at the weekend as part of a new trial.

The Patient Booking Service is going to open on a Saturday morning for six weeks to gauge if there is sufficient demand.

The service, which usually runs Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, will move to a six-day service from August 6, with the Saturday service operating between 8am and noon.

Katherine Sutton, chief officer acute services for 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.”

Patients will still need to wait for a letter before calling the service. Those awaiting an appointment will be sent a letter asking them to phone the patient booking team via the number on the letter, who will then work with them to arrange the most suitable time.

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

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