Keep it or cancel it, don't waste it
This campaign is designed to raise awareness of the importance of patients keeping their hospital or GP appointment, or calling to cancel or rearrange if they cannot make it.
Missed hospital appointments are costing NHS North East around £24 million a year.
This startling cost equates to a total of around 270,299 missed hospital appointments a year – or 5,198 missed appointments a week.
The NHS is not only concerned by the financial impact of this, but also the negative impact that missed appointments are having on the health service’s ability to see and treat patients within 18 weeks of referral.
The regional NHS is anxious to provide faster access to services and missed appointments mean doctors, nurses and other NHS staff are not using their time effectively.
The campaign features a TV commercial, targeted patient information materials, bus shelter adverts and a highly visible mobile advertising van travelling around the region.
Ian Dalton, chief executive of NHS North East, says:
“Missed NHS appointments are a big problem for the health service. In the north east, wasted appointment slots cost the NHS around £24m a year. And they also have a negative impact on how quickly we can see and treat people, how soon people are diagnosed and how long other patients may have to wait for an appointment.
“We know that sometimes there are good reasons why people can’t make their hospital or GP appointments, but what we are asking is that people call their hospital or GP surgery to rearrange or cancel. That way the appointment can be offered to another patient, helping to keep waiting times shorter and also making sure that doctors and nurses use their time more effectively.
“We’re doing everything we can to improve our services but need people to work with us to make things even better. So if you can’t get to your NHS appointment, for whatever reason, please call and let us know. The message is – ‘keep it or cancel it, don’t waste it’.”
NHS North East is treating the vast majority of patients - more than 90% - within 18 weeks of referral by their GP. This means providing faster access to tests, scans, care and treatment at every stage; to maintain this position, it is important that patients keep all appointments, with hospitals or their GP.