Can’t cope with Clinicenta

Clinicenta is the company responsible for the new Surgicentre at the Lister Hospital. B and I have been trying to contact them for nearly two weeks to arrange an appointment for B following his eye surgery six weeks ago. The four week return appointment was cancelled as the eye surgery transferred from the QEII hospital in Welwyn to Stevenage. In recognition of the logistical difficulties this move might involve, we were quite patient to start with. But, as they failed to respond to requests and phone calls (on the rare occasion we could get through), patience has worn thin and anger grown. No one answered the phone much of the time, when they did it would be after long waits with it ringing for up to five minutes. Then messages were taken but no one rang back. We must have spent well over two hours on the phone over the last week.

What made it worse was that B was having problems with his eye. Emergency numbers we were given after the operation did not work and so, in the end, we went to the emergency clinic to get someone to take a look. At the clinic B was assured the letter confirming the new appointment was on its way. But surprise, surprise it did not arrive.

On Thursday I started to explore information about Clinicenta on the internet. This proved depressing. No head office was available but it looks like it might be a subsidiary of Carillion. Rang Carillion but the person I spoke to said said the company was nothing to do with them but would try to get through to someone – interesting (see final note below). The telephone numbers I found online did not exist or work. I could not find a complaints procedure and, discovered they have been in trouble in London. Very depressing.

I rang Lister to complain but I was told this was nothing to do with the local NHS trust and they could do nothing, despite the large number of complaints they were fielding regarding Clinicenta. Though the lack of responsibility is clearly the case, it will still impact negatively on the Trust (who I think is trying hard to improve its image) as they are using the Surgicentre as a private supplier to reduce waiting lists.

Eventually, after the more than ten phone calls on Thursday, someone from the Surgicentre rang me and said the appointment letter was on its way. It did not arrive yesterday so I hope it arrives today!

In checking things out for this post I have just discovered this site, which I will investigate further.

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2 thoughts on “Can’t cope with Clinicenta

  1. The icing on the cake is that now if you have had your appointment cancelled (mine was cancelled in September and never rescheduled!) you must call an 0845 number, with the mandatory ‘queue’ to fleece you while you wait. Ophthalmology has been effectively privatised at Lister, and the company that now runs the service makes petty cash from its own incompetence.

  2. I went in personally to complain. At that point someone came out and was very helpful. Unfortunately, every time my husband has been since he has seen someone different. The last appointment revealed that the problem was the result of tearing the retina when they were operating. I am angry that nothing was said at the time. My husband has been refused the treatment recommended by the consultant on the grounds of cost, so now we have a fight on our hands. The good news is that that the contract is only for five years! The Surgicentre was one of the last of the Toni Blair’s NHS private finance projects and I have the feeling that the Trust had very little choice in the matter. I also think that it is hoping to have the where-with-all to get it back at the end of the current contract. No help for my husband, or you, though!

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