Health is drawing up a ‘robust policy’ to stop islanders missing appointments at the Hospital after new figures showed more than 5,500 appointments had been missed so far this year.
The missed appointments were classified as such because the person failed to turn up to a pre-arranged meeting, so not connected to the virus lockdown.
Based on the UK average cost of £30 per appointment, this adds to £165,000 wasted so far this year.
Robert Sainsbury, Group Managing Director of Health and Community Services, said: “All Hospital appointments are selected according to clinical priority. Patients of the same clinical priority are appointed in chronological order, which means the patients who have been waiting longest will be seen first.
“With the Hospital resuming outpatient and elective surgery admissions once again, we are aware that some appointments will be missed.
“People who repeatedly fail to turn up for their appointments cause frustration for other patients and our staff, as well as putting a strain on our resources. As such, we are currently devising a robust policy for patients who miss their appointments.
“Missed appointments cause delays in patients being seen by one of our healthcare specialists, which may have consequences on a patient’s health and wellbeing.
“So, it is in a patient’s best interests to always attend appointments or provide our staff with advance notice that they will be unable to attend. We accept that some appointments will be missed for unavoidable reasons. We are sympathetic to those patients and will always try to accommodate their needs.”
Pictured: The Hospital's outpatients' department reopened this week after the lockdown.
The Health Department is yet to publish details of what sanctions they are considering, but some NHS trusts use a ‘three strikes and out’ approach for repeat absentees who don't have a valid reason for not turning up.
A YouGov poll published in May this year found that 70% of NHS workers believed that no-show patients who fail to provide advance warning should be fined. Two thirds (67%) thought that those who miss appointments regularly should also be given lower priority than others.
The local no-show figures were released on an online platform launched by Health this week to give an accurate picture of waiting times at the Hospital. It shows that the current average waiting time for a routine outpatient appointment is 4.3 weeks. This rises to 17.7 weeks for an inpatient visit.
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