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Buzzers' Scheme Will Call Patients for Appointments

October 23, 2009 12:48 PM

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Patients will soon be “buzzed” through to their hospital clinic appointments thanks to a hand held buzzer scheme being introduced by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC).

The tile sized, translucent blue, plastic buzzers will light up, vibrate and buzz to alert patients in busy waiting areas that they have been called for their appointments and that they should go to the reception desk.

While all patients will be given buzzers, those with hearing or sight problems, or don’t have English as their first language, will particularly benefit.

The scheme has been piloted at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children’s post-op recovery area, and is now being extended to the Ear, Nose and Throat Department at the Southern General.

Alastair Low Planning and Development Manager with NHSGGC’s Corporate Inequalities’ Team said: “Anyone who has ever waited in a busy outpatients or Accident and Emergency Department will know how difficult it can be to hear names being called or information being communicated by staff.

“For someone who has difficulties hearing or seeing, or understanding English, this issue can cause added anxiety.

“We’re hoping that the buzzers will reduce this stress and ensure that people don’t miss their names being called.

“If the extension of the initiative proves successful at the Southern General by bringing added value for both staff and patients, then we would certainly consider getting more of these handsets.”

The buzzers are all numbered and will sit in re-chargeable base stations at reception desks and activated by staff pressing the appropriate activation button for each buzzer.

They will be handed out to patients when they arrive and register to see a doctor and staff will explain how the system works.

Patients’ names will still be called out, but will be backed up by the buzzer alert.

The units have a radius of up to 200 metres, allowing patients to leave the waiting room to go for a walk or a coffee but can still be within contact range.

So far 15 buzzers and their base stations have been bought thanks to an investment of £1,100 to pilot the initiative.

The new innovation is part of a range of activities being undertaken by NHSGGC to ensure that all service users have the communication support they need.

Alastair added: “Communication support is essential in ensuring that everyone receives the same standard of care and our Communication Support and Language Plan aims to provide a more effective and co-ordinated approach to providing support for all those who need it.”

For more information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.

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