Trust can’t treat empty seats

Thousands of patients every year are failing to keep their outpatient appointments at hospitals within the Northern Trust, wasting enormous amounts of the health budget and having an impact on waiting times.

The Northern Trust is appealing to patients to let them know if they cannot attend their outpatient appointment.

DNA (Did Not Attend) figures show that in 2009/10 more than 20,000 patients failed to turn up for appointments at Northern Trust facilities. Each month alone around 1,500 people do not attend appointments given to them.

Margaret O’Hagan, Assistant Director of Acute Hospital Services, said: “It really matters to us, because if you do not let us know that you are unable to attend we can’t re-allocate your appointment to someone else.

“If we know in advance that you can’t attend we could offer your appointment to another patient who is currently on our waiting list.”

She added: “I would appeal to patients that if you can’t make your appointment, no longer need it or want to rearrange it, please call the department or telephone number stated on your letter, and inform them that you are not able to make that date.

“Alternatively, if you can’t find the number, call the Northern Trust switchboard on 028 9442 4000 and they will only be too happy to put you through to the right service or department.”