7000 failed to attend appointments

More than 7000 people failed to attend their appointments at Altnagelvin Hospital in the six months between April and September alone.

Of those figures 2267 were first time appointments and 5025 were for review appointments.

A spokesperson for the Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) revealed this figure represented a Do Not Attend percentage of 9% for new appointments and 10% for reviews.

The spokesperson said: “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.

“As part of its attempts to reduce non-attendance, the Trust has in place a system for booking outpatient appointments where patients are given a choice of dates and times of clinics so a time to best fit their schedule can be arranged.  “From last November patients attending outpatient appointments across the Western Trust area receive an SMS text or an automated voicecall to their landline, reminding them of their outpatient appointment three days prior to their appointment.”

The spokesperson continued: “There are also situations where cancellation of an outpatient appointment by the hospital is unavoidable for example facilitating unexpected illness.

“The Trust were involved with colleagues regionally on a Short Life Working Group looking at the impact of hospital cancelled consultant-led outpatient appointments on patients in a more standardised and robust manner.

“Standardised recording has been developed regionally to clearly identify an actual cancelled appointment that impacted on the patient from those which did not,” the spokesperson said.