Health board launches new central contact centre


Patients living in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire will be able to experience greater choice and reduced waiting times for hospital appointments, thanks to the launch of a new central contact centre by Hywel Dda University Health Board.
The health board has decided to merge its contact centres in Glangwili, Withybush and Bronglais General Hospitals, to one centralised contact centre based at Prince Phillip Hospital in Llanelli.
The contact centre will ensure that outpatient appointments can be arranged at the earliest opportunity – particularly for people who are suspected of having life-threatening conditions, such as cancer.
By having a single dedicated telephone number to dial, service users will be able to contact and arrange appointments with ease, ensuring that all outpatient clinic sessions are fully utilised.
In addition, patients will be able to request a free ‘call back’ option to avoid having to wait in a queue on the phone.
A soft ‘go-live’ session is being held at the new contact centre, with the full merger taking place in October.
Peter Skitt, Director of Acute Services, said: “In the last 10 years the health board has operated appointment centres in three different localities to deliver hospital bookings.
“While this has worked to an extent, the health board has identified a need to standardise working practices as well as meeting Referral to Treatment Time targets.
“Because patients are experiencing a different service across the Health Board, we have found that they are not currently getting equality of service when discussing appointments.
“One of the big advantages the new contact centre will have is in arranging appointments for people who are willing to travel, rather than them having to wait for days or even weeks to be seen.
“This is particularly important where a patient has been referred by their GP for an urgent suspected cancer appointment, for example, where time really is critical.
“We also aim to build on our reputation for being efficient, professional, knowledgeable and approachable, and by making sure that we fully utilise all outpatient clinic sessions we can increase efficiencies and cut down on wasted staff time and resources.”
Anyone who would like to arrange, confirm, alter or cancel an outpatient appointment in Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire or Pembrokeshire can contact the new central number on 0300 303 9642.

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