North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has announced a saving of £10,494 as a pilot scheme to reduce missed appointments shows early success.
‘Did Not Attend’ is the designation given when the patient has not cancelled or rearranged the appointment. Missed appointments not only impact patient care, they come at significant cost with a missed paediatrics visit costing some £272.91.*
The role of social prescriber
The Trust is just two months into a six-month project that sees social prescriber Liam Jones proactively contact patients with upcoming appointments in obstetrics, gynaecology and paediatrics. Liam offers these patients the chance to rearrange their appointment and offer another patient that time slot and reminders of locations and site directions.
Some patients also received further advice about the community services available such as patient transport services and alternative appointment methods like video appointments where appropriate.
Liam’s intervention has led to a significant reduction in missed appointments.
The initial results, from 1 January to 20 February are encouraging, showing:
- 213 patients contacted
- 176 of those planned appointments went ahead
- 19 appointments were proactively cancelled following calls which allowed the opportunity for rebooking
- Only 18 ‘Did Not Attend’ were recorded
Liam said: “My role is to support patients in the community to improve their overall health.
“We know some people forget about their appointments or may be facing a change in circumstance which will make it more difficult to get to hospital. Just by getting in touch I can remind them about their upcoming appointment, make sure they can get here OK and help change the appointment date if that suits them better.
“It’s a simple solution to an issue which impacts all health care providers.”
The early announcement of the results of the pilot comes in time for World Social Prescribing Day on Thursday 9 March. The annual global event celebrates social prescribing, recognising link workers, local community groups and organisations which support people’s health and wellbeing.
Changing your appointment
Dr Elaine Gouk, obstetrics and gynaecology consultant, commented: “It’s not just about the money saved by reducing the missed appointments. Liam’s work has ensured 176 people attended their appointments and received the care they need.
“We’re more flexible than people think and I would urge any patient with an appointment they no longer need or want to change to get in touch.”
If you would like to re-arrange an appointment, please call 01642 617617.