Concerns have been expressed after it emerged that there have been a staggering 16,748 appointments at Derry’s Altnagelvin Hospital where people failed to show up or cancelled at the last minute.
The Western Trust last night confirmed the scale of the problem at consultant-led clinics at Altnagelvin Hospital by releasing the figures for the year to the start of April 2016 to the ‘Journal’.
Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue has appealed to people in Derry, with the onset of the summer holiday season, to check if they have a hospital, doctor or dentist appointment and to notify health providers if they can’t attend.
Colr. Logue said: “It’s not unusual to go into your local surgery to see a sign on the wall to say there has been 100 to 150 missed doctors and nurses’ appointments in the past month.
“That’s a shocking figure and a waste of valuable time and resources. Missed appointments are costing the health service millions of pounds each year with thousands of consultation slots and practice nurse appointments being wasted every year.”
A spokesperson for the Western Trust, which has introduced a text message and telephone reminder system, said: “It is vital that people are more aware of the impact this has on valuable hospital time. Patients can make their own vital contribution to cutting waste in the NHS by keeping or cancelling appointments in good time. A pound spent on health care can only be spent once and too many are wasted by missed appointments.”