West Coast DHBFriday 30 March 2012, 8:47AM
West Coasters are being encouraged to make their outpatient
appointments a priority, with patients on appointment waiting lists
missing out on moving up the list when others just do not turn
Garth Bateup, the DHB's acting General Manager Hospital Services,
says the DHB wants people to attend their appointments if at all
possible, or if they can't, to reschedule or cancel with reasonable
notice "but don't just not turn up".
"We realise that there are often unavoidable reasons for not being
able to attend an appointment, but patients who do not turn up are
preventing other patients from getting earlier appointments.
"It could be your father or aunt who is on a waiting list and could
have attended the appointment if you had given sufficient notice
that you couldn't attend. But if a person simply doesn't turn up,
we have no chance of offering the appointment to another
Recreational interests and holidays were among the most common
reasons for not attending, and Mr Bateup urged patients to
factor-in known dates when making or accepting an outpatients'
Last year, of 21,163 new and follow up outpatient appointments (the
year to 20 December) roughly 10 per cent, or 2171, were
Part of the problem has been a change, nationally, from patients
being provided with a simple appointment card, to a system using a
series of letters, which staff say can be confusing for the
"We are improving communications and have introduced an 0800 (0800
924826) confirmation line for patients to use."
There is also a significant waste of resources with DNAs, since
staff and specialists are at the appointments and still have to be
paid for their time, whether or not patients attend.
In people terms, patients could also be putting their lives, or at
the very least their recovery, at risk by not attending as it could
be some considerable time before another appointment became
available, Mr Bateup said.
"We understand that there are quite legitimate reasons for patients
to cancel or re-schedule an appointment but we are urging the
public to let us know as early as possible so that we can
re-allocate and make the most cost-effective use of our