Patients miss hospital visits

THOUSANDS of hospital appointments are being wasted at Ipswich hospital because patients simply do not turn up, it has been revealed.Around 20,000 people waiting to see a specialist at Ipswich could have been fitted in sooner if people who were unable to keep appointments had contacted the hospital trust.

By Jessica Nicholls

THOUSANDS of hospital appointments are being wasted at Ipswich hospital because patients simply do not turn up, it has been revealed.

Around 20,000 people waiting to see a specialist at Ipswich could have been fitted in sooner if people who were unable to keep appointments had contacted the hospital trust.

The trust is battling to try and cut waiting times to see consultants and specialist and the tens of thousands of missed appointments every year is not helping.


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Figures show that the number of missed appointments is an increasing problem throughout the NHS.

Now hospital chiefs are urging patients to do the decent thing and pick up the phone if they cannot make their appointment.

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Clare Barlow, director of nursing and patient services at the Trust, said: "Many people do get in touch with us and we are grateful for their thoughtfulness and co-operation.

"We do appreciate that it is sometimes simply not possible to keep an appointment and staff are very willing to reschedule consultations."

The Trust is making efforts to enable people to call up and there is a call centre with trained staff who can make telephone bookings for outpatients appointments in several specialist areas.

This system is helping to dramatically reduce the number of missed appointments in these specialities.

Ms Barlow said: "We hope when we have a telephone booking system for all of our clinics and services, the difficult problem of people simply failing to turn up will be significantly reduced."

An outpatients help line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 01473 703163.

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