Northern Trust in warning over missed appointments

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Thousands of patients every year are failing to keep their outpatient appointments and wasting enormous amounts of the health budget and having a detrimental impact on waiting times.

That was the stark warning from the Northern Trust who are appealing to patients to let them know if they cannot attend their outpatient appointment. Did not attend (DNA) figures show that in 2012/2013, 4,520 patients failed to turn up for their appointments at a Northern Trust facility.

The Trust say they have made significant headway in the last two years in reducing DNA’s by introducing a text messaging service .

Calum MacLeod, Interim Medical Director, said: “If you do not let us know that you are unable to attend we cannot re-allocate your appointment to someone else.

“If we know in advance that you cannot attendwe can offer your appointment to another patient on our waiting list.”

“The DNA rate impacts directly on how long patients wait to be seen. If such a high proportion of outpatient slots were not lost on patients who do not attend, sometimes repeatedly, waits for first outpatient appointments would reduce.

“It’s really important that you try to attend your hospital appointment. If you have been asked to come and see us at the hospital it is because your doctor thinks you should see a specialist about your health and you may need some important treatment.

“It’s your appointment. Please take care to be there.”

If patients really can’t make their appointment, no longer need it or want to rearrange it as much notice as possible by calling the number on your appointment letter.

Alternatively, if you can’t find the number, you can call the Northern Trust switchboard on 028 9442 4000 and they will only be too happy to put you through to the right service or department.