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Tell your customers when you change procedures — please

Ron Walter discusses frustration with new lab booking system.
Trading Thoughts by Ron Walter

The following is a summary of a recent conversation with a senior who had difficulties getting laboratory appointments in Moose Jaw.

The gent phoned the lab number at the Dr. F.H. Wigmore Hospital to make an appointment for lab work ordered by his doctor.

Since the pandemic lab work scheduling has changed, everybody needs an appointment. Walk-ins may have long waits.

The appointment procedure makes it easier for the lab to schedule staff and allows more-efficient operation for what is likely an over-worked, understaffed lab service.

This senior doesn’t have access to a computer or a smart phone and at his age has no desire to get connected. Thus, he can’t go with the flow that has been forcing everyone online.

He phoned the lab number seven times over a few days to get an appointment. Each time he was answered with a phone recording that said they were occupied or busy on the phone.

When he finally got through, the person answering said there is a new number and she didn’t have it handy. He hung up.

Really frustrated by now, the fellow went to his chosen lab site - Crescent View Clinic. The lab worker there said she was unable to do his work without the paperwork and was unable to make an appointment for him.

He got the new number for lab appointments. When he phoned, he heard the lengthy recording say this is the number for vaccine appointments. The senior listened for a while and hung up frustrated.

Note to those who record phone messages: You don’t have to do an oral essay.

What this senior didn't realize is the lab information had been tacked onto the end of the vaccine oral essay.

Finally, he listened to the whole message and got the appointment.

The phone number is 1-833-727-5829.

A poster at the lab a month in advance of the change in appointment procedure could have avoided a lot of frustration.

This incident falls into the category of doing the small things right and the big stuff will look after itself.       

A poster in the lab waiting areas for a month before the change would have eliminated much frustration. One press release to the media is insufficient notice.

Would this have happened if we still had a health district instead of one monolithic health organization? We’d have a board to listen to complaints, not another bureaucrat employee.

Elimination of the health districts was touted as a major saving. The $17 million in annual savings amounts to enough to operate the health system for 26 hours. Some major saving.

Another incident that falls under doing the small things right happened at a concession. 

Yours Truly was at a Warriors game, saw that the menu board offered a hot dog and fries for $10 but allowed onion rings or poutine instead of fries. I ordered the hot dog with onion rings.

The cashier wanted $11. I asked why and was told it was a substitution for fries.

I pointed out that the menu didn’t say it was an extra cost. His supervisor came over. “Sorry, that’s the way it is,” was all she said.

Personally, I feel that menu board is falsely advertising the offerings.

Ron Walter can be reached at 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication. 


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