Patients are being urged to do what they can to help reduce the number of missed hospital outpatient appointments after nearly 2000 did not attend last week across NHS Tayside.
As health services continue to recover following services being paused earlier in the pandemic, the health board has said pressure on hospital appointments is “more significant than ever”.
However, last week in Tayside 1846, or 9.7 per cent, of hospital outpatient appointments were classed as ‘DNAs’ which means that the patient did not attend for their scheduled appointment.
Operational medical director for NHS Tayside Dr Pamela Johnston said: “Now more than ever we need to make sure all healthcare professionals’ time and clinical expertise is used in the best way.
“Missed appointments delay treatment and increase waiting times for all patients.
“I understand that people may be a bit anxious about coming to hospital whilst COVID continues to circulate in our communities, but please be reassured that there are lots of COVID-19 safety measures in place throughout our healthcare sites including fluid resistant face masks, social distancing and hand hygiene stations.
“There are some simple things that the public can do to support us to help reduce missed appointments.
“It is really important that people get in contact with us as early as possible if they are unable to attend their appointment for any reason by phoning the number on their appointment letter.
“This allows us to rearrange a more suitable date and time for them and give the original appointment to someone else.
“People should also make sure that their address and phone number is up-to-date with their GP practice to ensure that appointment letters and text reminders don’t go astray.
“This will help us reduce the number of missed appointments and means we can make the best use of all of our NHS resources.
“In response to COVID-19, there have been hundreds of thousands of patient consultations using a virtual appointment either by phone, video or Near Me.
“By using telephone appointments and the video link ‘Near Me,’ patients have been able to schedule appointments which are convenient to them without them having to leave their homes.
“As we head into winter, please help all of our teams to keep services running and seeing as many people as we can by attending your scheduled hospital appointment or letting us know if you can no longer make it.”