10,000 fail to keep hospital appointment

MORE than 10,000 Ipswich Hospital appointments were missed by patients in just four months this year.

Rebecca Lefort

MORE than 10,000 Ipswich Hospital appointments were missed by patients in just four months this year.

The shock statistics emerged as new national data highlighted the massive challenge faced by the hospital to meet treatment time targets.

The Heath Road hospital issued 145,706 appointments between April and July this year, and 10,039 saw no one attend, a rate of nearly 7%.

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The no shows waste medics time and cause the hospital more problems in hitting target times.

Jan Rowsell, hospital spokeswoman, said: “This is a national problem shared by other hospitals and we are looking at how and what we can do about it.

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“We need everyone's support. Our message is: 'if you can't use it, don't lose it for the NHS'.

“We would like to reiterate that just one call is all it takes to say you can't come.”

The hospital made the plea as Department of Health data showed it was lagging behind other hospitals in its battle to treat people quickly enough.

In June, 78.7% of admitted patients were treated within 18 weeks of being referred, against a target of 90%. Nationally, the hospital exceeded the target and achieved a 93.6% rate.

Ms Rowsell added: “We are making progress and we are on track to actually meet the challenge that we face.

“But we acknowledge that these figures are not where we want to be and we are doing everything we can to deliver the shortest waiting times for the people we see.”

To tackle the large backlog of patients the hospital has been forced to outsource operations, bring in foreign medics and ask staff to work extra hours - a programme which could cost an extra �5million.

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