Poll: 228 patients ‘forgot’ to turn up for surgery at West Suffolk Hospital


- Credit: IAN BURT

Nearly 230 patients failed to turn up to their own surgery at West Suffolk Hospital last year.

Missed appointments lead to longer waiting times and the hospital is hoping a text and phone reminder system will help prompt forgetful patients due to go under the knife.

The system has already proved successful for outpatients, with a 30% drop in missed appointments following its introduction earlier this year.

The automated service will telephone patients a week before their appointment to remind them of the date, time and location, before giving them the choice of confirming or rearranging. A further reminder, via text message, will then be sent two days beforehand. The service will be rolled out across elective surgery for all routine operations.

Project manager Steven Colman said: “The reminder system has proved a huge success since it was introduced in the outpatients department earlier this year and has seen hundreds of extra patients attend each month as a result.

“We hope that it will have a similar impact when it is rolled out across surgery. The reminders make it easy for anyone who cannot attend to let us know, which then gives us the opportunity to offer the slot to someone else. This will help us to further reduce waiting lists.”

He added: “It is usually patients waiting for more minor surgery, such as dental procedures or skin lesions, who forget to come for their appointment. We would urge anyone who cannot come in to get in touch with us.”