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£1.5million lost due to people not attending their outpatient appointment

Nurse with clipboard

Over 9,200 outpatient appointments were wasted in the Western Trust last year due to patients/clients not turning up for their appointment, costing the Trust £1.5million.

From 01 January 2019 to 31 December 2019, the total number of patients who did not attend their outpatient appointment, or failed to give staff sufficient notice to make the appointments available to other patients, in our hospitals across the Western Trust area was 9,260. Each missed appointment costs the Trust £170, which equates to £1.5millon lost to our health and social care budget in 2019.

Geraldine McKay, Director of Acute Hospitals for the Western Trust said: “We understand that there are many genuine reasons why people are not able to make an appointment however, as these figures show every missed appointment is a lost opportunity for someone else to be seen. The appointment slot is an actual time with a member of our clinical and nursing staff who are dedicated to patient care.

“Therefore, for 2020 we are asking for the public’s cooperation in reducing non-attendance for hospital outpatient appointments so that valuable resources and staff time is not wasted, as this will have a significant impact on already overstretched health service.

Geraldine continued: “Where possible we would ask patients with an appointment to let the hospital know if they won’t be able to attend and to do this at the earliest opportunity and at least 24 hours beforehand.

“To help reduce non-attendance, the Trust has in place a system for booking outpatient appointments, where patients are given a choice of dates and times and they can select one that best suits them. Patients attending outpatient appointments across the Western Trust area receive a SMS text to their mobile phone or an automated voicecall to their landline, reminding them of their outpatient appointment one week prior to their appointment.

“The number of missed appointments and non-attendance figures are also published in our outpatient areas across all hospital sites on a monthly basis.”