Gravity of missed outpatient appointments at LUH revealed

by Louise Doyle

MORE than 1, 800 patients did not attend their outpatient appointment in Letterkenny University Hospital in the first three months of this year.

Last week we revealed how 102 patients failed to show up for their outpatient appointment in LUH in the week beginning April 8.


But the gravity and scale of missed outpatient appointments in LUH is much deeper, according to figures provided to the Donegal News by Saolta.

The figures reveal that in the first quarter of this year, 1,880 patients did not attend their outpatient appointment in LUH.

This accounts for 10 per cent of all first appointments and 12 per cent of all review appointments which were not attended and which could not be offered to another patient.

A saolta spokesperson has urged anyone who can not make their outpatient appointment to advise the hospital as soon as is possible.

“In the event that a patient cannot attend an outpatient appointment they should contact the phone number on their appointment letter to reschedule. This allows the hospital to offer the appointment to another patient and ensure the patient is provided with the care prescribed by his/her referring GP.”

The spokesperson added that LUH patients who have consented to receive text reminders will receive an SMS reminder (text message) at 10 days and three days before their appointment.

Meanwhile, there were 4,311 hospital cancellations at LUH last year, according to figures revealed by Sinn Féin’s Pádraig MacLochlainn TD and Pearse Doherty TD.


They have accused the government’s lack of a plan for overcrowding as impacting directly on waiting lists through cancellations.

They said that the government was shifting the problem from emergency departments to waiting lists, leaving patients waiting longer for access to care.

They also said that Sinn Féin has a plan to improve the health service by delivering 3,000 hospital and community beds nationwide, ending the recruitment embargo, training more healthcare professionals, and investing in local health services.

“We would fast-track elective centres so that we can separate unscheduled, emergency care from scheduled procedures and surgeries.

“This will increase surgical theatre capacity, help to reduce the number of cancellations, and free up capacity in hospitals for emergency care.”

They Donegal Deputies said their party would also invest in home support, community step-down beds, and diagnostic capacity so that patients can be discharged to their home or to a supported care setting when they are ready, and to ensure that patients’ experiences are not delayed by lengthy waiting lists for scans.

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