Hospital aims to tackle those who miss appointments

ROTHERHAM Hospital has launched a project to tackle the issue of outpatients missing appointments.

People who do not attend appointments, often referred to as DNAs, have been identified by NHS England as an “important challenge”, with 7.6 per cent of outpatient appointments booked in 2021/22 classed as DNA.

Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust’s board of directors heard the hospital’s DNA rating was in line with national figures, but the trust was “taking action quickly” to tackle the issue locally.

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Louise Tuckett, director of strategy planning and performance, said the trust’s programme would see the contact centre write a letter to offer an outpatients’ appointment.

The system would flag up if the person was a potential DNA and, as well as the letter, the hospital would follow up with a phone call to talk through alternative times that might work better instead.

The trust is also contacting patients who fail to attend to find out why they were unable to make the appointment and what made it difficult for them.

“There a lot of different reasons so far,” she said.

“It’s often down to the individual and we will collate that learning.”

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People may be on zero hours contracts and unable to get time off work or lack transport options to get them to their appointments, Mrs Tuckett said.

Patients from deprived communities were also affected by a number of outside factors, making them a “priority” for the project, with a third of patients from those areas.

Mrs Tuckett added: “We wanted to take action quickly and will bring a report (on the project) back here in a few months’ time.”