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Patients miss 10% of appointments

NHS is encouraged to use more innovative ways of tackling DNAs

Mark Gould

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

In spite of efforts to reduce the level of poor attendance around one in 10 hospital appointments in England was missed by patients last year, according to the Department of Health.

Although the number of DNAs (Did Not Attend) was down 250,000 on the previous year, it cost millions and delayed treatment for other patients, says health minister Simon Burns

Mr Burns said that it is important for people to realise the knock-on effects of missing visits.

And he said the government is encouraging hospitals to use more innovative ways to tackle the number of missed appointments. He gave the example, Newham University Hospital has started seeing diabetes patients who do not need a physical examination via Skype.

And several hospitals such as King's College, London, and Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are sending patient reminders by text message.

In a statement Mr Burns said: "It is important that people realise that not turning up for their agreed appointments means other patients' care might be delayed and doctors' and nurses' time could be wasted, costing taxpayers money.

"Today we are highlighting the number of missed appointments so people can see the impact this is having on their NHS.

"Patients often have genuine reasons to miss an appointment, but it can have a big impact on the care we can offer to other patients. It is important that the public understand we have responsibilities too, like not wasting precious NHS resources.

"I'm glad to see that the NHS is increasingly using simple ideas such as texting their patients before an appointment or seeing them via Skype. These could have a dramatic impact and I want to see more hospitals making use of them."

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