Fewer patients are missing their outpatient appointment at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, following the introduction of additional reminders.
Figures for the first eight weeks of this year give an average non-attendance rate of 7.47% for first appointments and 6.82% for follow-ups, exceeding the mean national target of 8%. Just last summer, the figure for the Trust was as high as 10%.
The additional reminders that have been introduced include an automated telephone reminder the day before an appointment, in addition to the reminder given seven days in advance. In addition all patients over the age of 70 now receive a telephone reminder in person rather than an automated message. This personal service is also extended to patients who pick up the phone but then hang up without listening to the message.
Jo Byers, Head of Clinical Administration for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “It’s important that we keep the number of patients not attending outpatient appointments as low as possible so that we can make best use of our clinical resources and provide more timely care to our patients.
“Whilst this improvement is fantastic, we would still like to reduce our non-attendance rates even more. If you want to cancel an appointment, please call the number on your appointment letter to let us know and we will then be able to offer the appointment to someone else.”