Staff at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are urging patients to let them know if they cannot make their appointment as figures reveal as many as 1,600 people a year fail to attend their operations.
Every year theatre teams at The James Cook University Hospital, Friarage Hospital and Redcar Primary Care Hospital carry out 36,000 procedures but 1,600 slots are wasted because they are cancelled at last minute.
Patients not attending procedures, or cancelling at short notice, account for around 46% of all theatre cancellations at the trust.
“It’s a huge problem,” said Stuart Finn, directorate manager for trauma and theatres at the trust.
“It increases our waiting lists, leaving other patients facing a longer wait and while tariffs vary for each different specialty, the cost to the trust in terms of lost income alone is more than £1.5million a year.
“We are currently reviewing how we can reduce our Did Not Attend (DNA) rates and we are looking at everything from patient letters to introducing reminder services.
“But we need patients to help us by letting us know in advance if they can’t make their appointment.
“If you are planning on not attending or you can see a change in circumstances and need to change the date of your operation please get in touch with us and give us plenty of notice. The easiest way to do this is to call the department listed on your patient letter.
“If we know in advance that you can’t get here we can rebook your procedure for a time that suits you better and give the slot to another patient who is equally or even more in need of that operation.”
View our videos to find out more about how you can help ease pressures on your local hospital this winter at southtees.nhs.uk/news/hospitals/how-you-can-help-the-nhs-this-winter/