Number of missed hospital appointments rise in Forth Valley

More people are missing appointments
More people are missing appointments
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There was an increase of more than 1700 missed hospital appointments over the last year according to latest figures.

During the period 2012-13 there were a total of 27,123 appointments skipped in the Forth Valley area, up 1719 from 25,404 for 2011-12.

NHS Forth Valley was one of the 10 health boards where missed hospital appointments increased.

The health board said it has taken a host of measures to reduce the number of patients who fail to turn up for appointments including introducing a new phone system to contact people eight days before their outpatient appointment for a reminder.

A spokeswoman said: “Although the number of missed appointments has risen slightly in the past year, the overall percentage has not increased as we are seeing many more patients.

“We would urge anyone who is unable to attend their appointment to get in touch with us as soon as possible as this could enable other patients to be seen earlier.

“Any patient who changes their address or telephone number should also inform their GP to ensure that their correct contact details are held on file.”

NHS Forth Valley also say anyone who fails to turn up for two appointments would “normally” then be referred back to their GP for further consultation.

Falkirk West MSP and Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson said it is up to individual health boards to decide how to tackle the issue and praised NHS Forth Valley, despite the increase, for its new measures like the phone system.

He added: “It’s important that people ensure that patients let hospitals know when they can’t make appointments and that we have up to date contact details for them so we can offer these appointments to someone else on the waiting list.”