MORE than one hundred patients did not attend outpatient clinical appointments in Letterkenny last week, new figures show.
One hundred and ten outpatient appointments resulted in a “did not attend”, resulting in huge financial costs for the hospital and delays for other patients.
A spokesperson for Letterkenny University Hospital admitted that outpatient non-attendance (termed as a DNA – did not arrive) figures have been of concern.
“The DNA figures vary week by week and can range from 75 to 129. In the month of June we had 424 patients who DNA. Last week it was 110.
At a recent Hospital Executive Board meeting a DNA policy was agreed to deal with this issue. At the end of each clinic the consultant responsible reviews all DNA’s and records an action for each patient in the patient’s healthcare record. There are two options – either move from waiting list or the clinician requests a second appointment to be offered.
“Patients are responsible for informing the hospital if they are not able to attend their appointment. On receipt of an appointment letter patients should notify the hospital if they no longer require that appointment.
“When patients DNA their clinic appointment and the consultant has decided not to offer another appointment, a letter is sent to the patient’s GP. Shortly, patients will also receive a copy of this letter. If the patient feels they still require review, they need to go back to their GP and begin the process again,” she said.
An outpatient appointment costs an estimated €129 per person, with the cost of a “did not attend” put at €44. This includes the cost of obtaining medical notes from the records library of a hospital, reviewing the consultant’s referral notes and further communications to the GP and patient after a non-appearance.
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These latest figures come amid reports of low morale and ongoing industrial relations problems within the Health Service Executive.