Guernsey Press

Islanders being urged not to miss medical appointments

ONE in 20 adult outpatient appointments are being wasted due to patients failing to attend or making last-minute cancellations.

Medical Specialist Group. (33266008)

And the percentage is even higher for childrens’ outpatient appointments.

The figures have been revealed as Health & Social Care and the Medical Specialist Group are facing ever-increasing demand for care, but these issues are wasting medical staff’s time.

HSC and MSG are urging islanders to do all they can to attend appointments, as this will help reduce waiting lists.

Health & Social Care president Al Brouard said that patients not attending appointments was a significant issue, which should be tackled with increased community understanding of the impact.

‘Non-attendance is far more challenging to manage than cancelling or re-arranging ahead of time,’ he said.

‘If adequate notice is given, the appointment can be reallocated to another patient who needs our help.

‘If we could really cut down on the thousands of missed appointments then it would have an obvious knock-on benefit to our efforts to maximise the capacity our services have, particularly ensuring clinicians’ time is not wasted.’

He said that HSC, for its part, did all it could to honour appointments unless completely unavoidable.

In 2023, 4,849 of the 82,139 appointments for adults – about 6% – were either not attended by the patient or cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice. For paediatric appointments, it was 740 out of 7,152 – about 10%.

The issue also causes problems for physiotherapy capacity, with 1,234 appointments out of a total of 13,368 – about 9% – either not attended or cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice.

MSG chairman Dr Steve Evans said it was grateful to all the patients who did come for their appointments on time.

‘It is always a shame when someone does not turn up, as that appointment time could have been used for someone else,’ he said.

‘It’s really important that we make best use of our consultants’ time so that they can see as many patients as possible and reduce waiting times.

‘That’s why working with patients is such a priority for us. We are looking at ways to reduce missed appointments, such as sending out electronic reminders and, where appropriate, arranging follow-up appointments at the time of the first appointment.’