Concern over missed hospital appointments

NHS Lothian spends �50m to treat patients outside of the area
NHS Lothian spends �50m to treat patients outside of the area

There was growing concern this week over the number of missed hospital appointments in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.

New figures released show that almost a quarter of a million slots at local hospitals were missed, potentially placing life-saving services under massive strain.

In addition, it is feared that some patients may be missing out on essential treatment if they do not attend appointments.

East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson warned: “Our doctors and nurses cannot afford to waste time that could have been spent on helping other patients.”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has recently implemented a raft of new technologies aimed at encouraging patients to remember to attend or cancel appointments - including automated telephone reminder service and an online cancellation service - but a spokesperson admitted the new figures were still ‘very disappointing’.

The spokesperson said: “We do our best to ensure that patients are provided with appointment dates and times that are suitable, in order to reduce the likelihood that they will be unable to attend by making as many appointment bookings as we can by telephone, or face to face, at clinics.

“When patients fail to turn up for appointments, it means that valuable clinical time that could be used by other patients is often wasted and the process of rescheduling missed appointments also takes up costly resources.”