Hospital urges patients to get in touch if they are unable to attend their appointments

Healthcare professionals in Doncaster are reminding patients to cancel hospital appointments if they are unable to attend.

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Nationally, around one in every 10 appointments made are missed every year in England, costing the health service millions of pounds. Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) is within the top 25 per cent of all trusts in the country for patients not attending appointments, annually recording more 50,000 missed dates, a number which equates to more than 140 a day.

Emma Challans, Deputy Chief Operating Officer at the Trust, said: “Making sure you attend your hospital appointments, or rescheduling if it is not possible, is vitally important.

“Often cancelled without prior notice, missed appointments have a knock-on effect within the organisation, taking up time within clinics which could be used to see, care for, and treat other patients.”

In order to address the problem, DBTH are working with NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group and HealthWatch Doncaster to speak with local residents to understand some of the reasons why people do not attend some local hospital appointments.

The findings from this work will be fed into a project team which is made up from representatives from each organisation, with recommended actions taken forward in order to reduce the number of missed appointments in the future.

Emma continued: “This piece of work will help inform the local NHS why we see such volume of patients not attending, as well as how we can improve in future. Reducing the amount of missed appointments will have a hugely positive impact on services for people in Doncaster, Bassetlaw and beyond, freeing up crucial clinic time for patients, effectively meaning quicker access to care and treatment.”

At Doncaster Royal Infirmary, the ophthalmology service has one of the highest non-attendance rates with above 8,000 missed appointments each year. To help understand why, over the coming weeks visitors to the Fred and Ann Green Eye Centre will be asked for feedback on missed appointments and how the Trust can assist patients in cancelling or rearranging appointments.

HealthWatch Doncaster will also be heading out into communities to speak to local people in order to find out more, alternatively you can help the NHS by taking this short survey here:

Andrew Goodall, Chief Operating Officer at Healthwatch Doncaster, said: “We are excited to get out and about talking to people in Doncaster and its surrounding areas to understand why people miss their appointments, and what we can do to improve the situation. With only nine question, the survey should only take a few minutes to complete and will help your local NHS to minimise the number of people not attending appointments, improving services for the benefit of everybody.”

The survey will run from late October to early December.