NI Trust reveals number of patients who missed appointments in 2023

Lagan Valley Hospital.
Lagan Valley Hospital. -Credit:Justin Kernoghan/Belfast Live

A local health trust has issued a statement after it was revealed that in 2023, over 20,000 patients did not attend appointments.

Last year alone, 22,000 patients did not attend their Consultant Outpatient appointments or their planned procedures in the South Eastern Trust. This figure, branded as "staggering" by the Trust, is said to have had a "profound impact" on the Trust's ability to provide care to all patients in a timely manner.

Each missed Outpatient appointment costs the Trust on average over £200, which amounts to millions of pounds lost. The cost per patient not attending a planned day case procedure at the Regional Day Procedure Centre at the Lagan Valley Hospital, is approximately £2,500.

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With a "Did Not Attend" (DNA) rate of 6% over the last six months, the Trust says this represents a substantial financial impact and denies other patients the opportunity to receive necessary medical care.

Appealing for patients to cancel appointments if they cannot attend, Assistant Director of Elective Care and Radiology Services, Chris Allam said: "“We understand that things happen in everyone’s lives, but please let us know.

"I want to emphasise the importance of informing us if you are unable to attend your appointment. The high number of missed appointments has a significant impact on our ability to provide care efficiently and effectively."

Lagan Valley Hospital.
Lagan Valley Hospital. -Credit: Justin Kernoghan/Belfast Live

The Trust offers a text reminder service to Day Procedure patients who are contacted seven days before their appointment and again two days before. These reminders give patients the opportunity to confirm, reschedule, or cancel their appointments in a timely manner.

Chris added: "We encourage patients to use our text reminder service, as it allows for easy cancellation or rescheduling of appointments. By doing so, we can fill these vacant slots with patients who are on a waiting list, at short notice."

This text reminder service will be rolled out across the Trust for all Outpatient appointments next month.

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