Since its opening on Monday April 17, the new dental center in Cahors has been bombarded with requests. Some patients get annoyed that they don’t have anyone on the phone to make an appointment. The tension is rising and the police have had to intervene.
It was to be expected. But so many requests, that no, the team of the new dental practice in Cahors had not seen it coming. “Since the opening, on Monday April 17, we have received between 500 and 1000 calls per day, it’s really madness, at this point, I would not have imagined”, confides a little sounded Marc Majorel, the president of the Mutualité française in the Lot, who initiated this brand new dental center project.
At 764 Côte des Ormeaux, the phone rings. And cry. Because, on all the requests received, it is impossible to satisfy everyone.
Virginie called 97 times in three days
“We have received requests from all over the Lot, as far as Martel and Figeac, in the north, but also from Corrèze”, he continues. The two dental assistants are in the oven and in the mill: in addition to the saturated telephone switchboard, they also assist the two dentists for care. “They remained very professional and extremely patient despite the pressure, patient visits and constant phone calls,” observes Marc Majorel.
Virginie has been looking for a dentist in the Lot for more than a year. As soon as she learned that the dental center was opening, she called, called, called… 97 times in three days. “I have a dental problem that turned into a medical emergency, for lack of care,” she explains when leaving her precious appointment this Thursday afternoon. One of her colleagues would also like to be able to get treatment: she has tried to reach assistants more than 100 times. In vain.”
People are upset because we can’t answer everyone but it’s not bad will, we don’t have time and the appointment book is full until August “, slips , handset in hand, one of the two dental assistants.Requests that also landed at the switchboard of our editorial staff, in Cahors.
1,500 patients were able to make an appointment… 5,000 are still waiting
Between 200 and 300 appointments were given per day. A little over 1,500 since the opening of the dental office. Yes but now, 5000 other patients who have requested the dental center remain on the floor. And some slip up… “On the day of the opening, we had to bring in the police: a patient who was waiting in front of the cabinet became aggressive, he threatened our staff and threatened to break the window to be able to get in”, says Marc Majorel.
So, safety rules had to be put in place. Since then, the office has been closed during the day. Only patients who have been able to book an appointment can return and the medical staff comes to open the door. The team was also afraid that crowds would be created in the parking lot. Two weeks later, the anger of patients deprived of appointments has not yet subsided.
During our report, a retiree from Lot shows up in front of the front door, annoyed and distraught, post-it note with the number of the center in her hand. “Who answers this number? Can you explain to me why no one answers,” she asks Marc Majorel. Behind her, a worried Lotoise also wants to understand why “no one answers her”.
“We are victims of our success”
The manager always answers the same thing: “We are victims of our own success, we are saturated with requests, we do what we can but we cannot respond to everyone”. A third dentist from Spain may well join the practice in May. Nadine Boffetti, one of the two salaried dentists, did not have time to make her mark. She connects the patients: “Some have not been treated for a long time, I took priority to people with psychological difficulties”.
No need to contact the dental center to make an appointment before the start of summer: the assistants advise letting the next few weeks pass and trying your luck in June, when new slots can become available. In the meantime, the Lotois are invited to take their troubles patiently. “We are really sorry, we are doing our best, we are asking the Lotois to keep reason and to remain courteous despite the difficulty”, advises Marc Majorel.