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NHS Highland trial weekend patient booking service

By Niall Harkiss

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As part of a new trial, the patient booking service at NHS Highland will be open on a Saturday for a period of six weeks to allow patients to phone and book appointments.

The service, which usually runs Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am – 5pm, will move to a six-day service from August 6 with the Saturday slot running between the hours of 8am and midday.

Katherine Sutton chief officer acute services from 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 cancellation 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.”

How patients access the service will not be changing. 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 best suitable time.

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

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