Patients urged not to miss appointments

Posted on in Services

Health chiefs are urging patients not to miss hospital appointments after 67,500 were wasted last year at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust, which runs The James Cook University Hospital, Friarage Hospital and services at a number of community hospitals, had a “did not attend” (DNA) rate of 8% in the last financial year.Cardio outpatients at The James Cook University Hospital

In total almost 67,500 patients did not turn up to outpatient and pre-assessment appointments costing the trust more than £1.6million in wasted staff time – the equivalent of paying for 74 registered nurses – and approximately £5m in lost income. And this does not take into account those cancelled at short notice which subsequently could not be filled.

Failing to attend or cancel appointments increases waiting times for other patients as well as placing extra administrative pressures on staff.

A range of measures are already in place to try to reduce DNAs as part of the trust’s transformation programme which aims to ensure services run more efficiently. This includes a reminder service for patients, displaying the number of DNAs in waiting areas and not arranging appointments too far in advance.

Now members of the public are being urged to do their bit by making sure they:

  • turn up to appointments on time
  • let hospital staff know as soon as possible if they are not going to be able to attend
  • ensure their GP surgery has their correct address and contact details.

Cardio outpatients at James CookRichard Whitehouse, business manager for tertiary services said: “We are continually striving to give patients the best experience possible and one of the areas we always keep a close eye on is our “did not attend” rate.

“At the moment around 40% of patients who do not attend appointments cancel on the day which really limits our chances of being able to give their slot to someone else.

“We are urging patients to make sure they attend appointments or to provide us with as much notice as possible if they can’t make it to help reduce waiting times for other patients and waste within the NHS.”

Appointments can be cancelled by calling individual departments or click here to cancel online.