Your call is important to us. Please hold.

Who doesn’t hate call waiting systems? Normally, I would say that BT has the most obnoxious one. But I just went through the call hold system for my doctors surgery.

So – I wanted to book an appointment with a nurse in two weeks time. Unfortunately, the online appointments system only allows you to book appointments with a doctor. Ok, so – lines open at 8:30am. I’ll be at work at that time, but – how long can it take to book an appointment? Bang on 8:30, I phoned the doctors surgery, to be immediately left on hold. Due to a defect in their system, you get a helpful message after being on hold for about a minute informing you ‘Your call is important to us. Your position in the queue is:’, followed up by the hold music. It’s not until you have been on hold for about 5 minutes of your life that the other part of the system kicks in, and actually tells you your position in the queue.

My position was 20. 20!!! So, I decided that I should call back later, since my appointment isn’t urgent, and I don’t need it for 2 weeks.

So, 45 minutes later, I took a coffee break and decided to try again. After 5 minutes, I find I am number 3 in the queue. Great, may as well wait! Another 5 minutes later, and I go through the queue – straight to another answering system that wants me to categorise my call by pressing a number. Ok, 2 is appointments. Great!

I’m then left on hold for another 5 minutes. Another 5 minutes, even though I am apparently through the hold system. Great.

Finally, I get to speak to a real person. Who then informs me that if I want an appointment with a nurse for after my work hours (in this case, any time after 4pm for me), I would have to phone up on the day. Because phoning up 2 weeks in advance to try and secure an appoinmentment outside of my work hours is not possible, it seems.

All in all, I have lost 25 minutes of my life today, to book an appointment with a nurse in 2 weeks time, at a time that isn’t actually too convenient for me, because any appointment times after 3:40pm are blocked off for people phoning up on the morning that they need an appointment.

It’s no wonder I was 20 in the queue when I first phoned. This system is horrendous. Why not have people who need a same day appointment be able to have an appointment in the day, and let those of us who have a non-urgent medical need arrange an appointment for a future date at a time that is more convenient? Or would that make too much sense in this day and age? Should the assumption not be that someone needing a same day appointment may have a more urgent need that means they aren’t actually working that day, and could thus easily get to an appointment between 9-5?

I think I am going to develop an app that allows me to reach through a phone line and strangle whoever decided this system was in any way sensible.

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