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Specialist appointments a valuable resource

Monday, 6th December, 2010

Clerk of Specialists Clinics, Carol Foulis, and registered nurse, Lesley Hall, want people to let them know if they are going to miss a hospital appointment Clerk of Specialists Clinics, Carol Foulis, and registered nurse, Lesley Hall, want people to let them know if they are going to miss a hospital appointment

One of the busiest departments in the hospital is urging people to let them know if they are going to miss an appointment.

The Specialists Clinics department sees up to 1,000 patients a week but about five appointments are missed each day, on average, according to the hospital.

A missed appointment with no notice can affect other patients and the visiting specialists, said the hospital's General Manager, Rod Wyber-Hughes.

"When a person doesn't attend an appointment, other people waiting are delayed until the specialist visits again," Mr Wyber-Hughes said yesterday.

"That could be a fortnight or a month, and if the next month is already booked up, then it can be longer. The waiting list for appointments becomes greater."

He said visiting doctors can lose up to an hour if the appointment missed is for a medical procedure.

"It is not possible to call up another patient for a procedure at short notice. For example, people have missed Eye Field Tests with no notice andthis has resulted in up to eight appointments being deferred for that day," Mr Wyber-Hughes said.

People should notify the Specialist Clinics Department as soon as possible if they are unable to attend their appointment, for whatever reason, he said.

Phoning the Specialist Clinics on 8080 1418 to say that you are unable to attend can reduce the waiting list and enable medical treatment for otherpatients on the list, Mr Wyber-Hughes.

"The person cancelling will be given the next available appointment for that particular clinic. We understand that people's circumstances change and we will try to accommodate that as much as we can, and if you can let us know in advance, the better able we are to do that."

He said the main reasons given by patients for non-attendance were that they didn't receive their appointment letter, had forgotten their appointment or had mixed up the time or date of it.

He said letters had been sent to patients when an appointment was missed, but that this had made no difference to the number of non-attendances.

"Notifying us you can't make an appointment will go a long way to ensuring Specialist Clinics maximises the time and resources available for all patients," said Mr Wyber-Hughes.

The hospital also wanted patients having appointments with other departments, including Allied Health, Primary Health and Paediatrics, to also inform them if they cannot make it.

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