Some time ago I read @David_Spardo 's experience (I think) about going for an appointment and finding that the doctor wasn’t there and I remembered that it would be a good idea to confirm before setting off.
We have a date in the diary for later this week, so I thought I ought to phone to check all is well. New consultant, not seen before, appointment made on the phone by his secretary, so there were faint alarm bells ringing. So I phoned. An interminable wait with completely inappropriate music playing and now of course it’s an earworm! (In Fashion Gregory Porter). Finally, finally, spoke to someone who told me the appointment had been cancelled. Since this is something in the diary since October and nobody told us about the cancellation I was less than thrilled. She said the consultant’s secretary would phone me back.
By now, serious alarm bells were ringing. So I decided to go to the hospital - an hour trip each way. I’m glad I did. I met the great man’s secretary who confirmed, quite cheerfully, that this Thursday had been cancelled as he wasn’t working and that a new appointment had been made for next Tuesday. At no point has anyone thought to confirm with us! Also, at no point during my half hour wait to see the great man’s secretary did I hear a phone ring, or see any of the three secretaries pick up the phone to anyone. The number I called (his secretary cheerfully told me) is a central number and the person who answered and was supposed to be helping me did not know what was going on.
Thank goodness for SF! And thanks to David for posting. Without David’s experience we would have naively assumed all was well and would have had a wasted journey and afternoon on Thursday.
In future I will always double check a few days ahead. For example, I have an appointment a year ahead - who knows what will have changed by then.
I always try to get the consultant’s secretary’s number, rather than the central dragons who will tell you anything to get off the phone.
Me too, although I did make an exception today but that was only for the 5th covid jab 15 kms away at a pharmacy. All went well and we are both fit with no after effects but I’m glad I did plan ahead to leave an hour beforehand because with all the diffculties of getting Fran to the car, the chair beside the cage in the back, and therefore the 2 dogs sharing the same cage, any later would have been disastrous.
The most annoying thing with Fran/Davids appointment was they had ‘left a message’ which he never got. Luckily I called to rearrange so we found out the doctor wasn’t there!
And still haven’t, 2 phones, Orange online and emails available, nothing.
Indeed, a close call, given the planning involved in our fairly local covid visit yesterday, if I had gone all the way to Perigueux (the dogs and wheelchair have to be in different positions for the longer time) only to find out for the 2nd time that the doc wasn’t there I would have been very very annoyed indeed. Those last 4 words are a mild substitute for what my real state of mind would have been.
That’s exactly what the central phone number woman said she would do after I’d thrown a hissy fit. When I was sitting in front of the man’s secretary there was no evidence from her that she’d already been told I’d called and needed a new appointment urgently to replace the one she’d cancelled (without telling me!)
TBH I think there is a cultural thing here about France. I’m not sure how to define it but it’s there.
For ex, in writing, I arranged a telecon at a fixed time to deal with questions so as to finalise a purchase and had their email confirmation. Organised my day around that. Waited in vain for the scheduled call. Figured the person had had a crisis or some other call overrun and waited for some apology, explanation and request to reschedule.
Nothing the following morning so I contacted the person. “Oh, it wasn’t in our office diary”.
No other comment, no apology.
[Thoughts unsaid by me: Er, so given only you and I corresponded, who was supposed to put it in there then?]
Actually said by me: I’ll pick it up later when I have another time. Needless to say, I still haven’t.
It’s kind of like culturally mistakes are not accepted, so they are not admitted, and responsibility is never taken.
So there is a differing cultural expectation here, I just can’t define it