PERFORMANCE: A new appointment reminder service is being introduced at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead to help cut down on the number of wasted appointments and save the hospital money.

Each time a patient fails to attend their outpatient appointment it costs the trust an average of £125.

Last year, there were approximately 28,000 wasted appointment slots, costing about £4m.

To help reduce this cost the trust is introducing a new appointment confirmation service to begin in early September.

Denise Reay assistant divisional manager for the hospital’s Assessment, Diagnostics and Screening Division, explained how the system works: “A few days before their appointment, patients will be contacted by an automated telephone call or a call made by call centre staff.”

“The instructions in the telephone call will ask the patient to confirm who they are before giving their appointment details. Patients can then choose the appropriate option to confirm, cancel or rearrange their appointment.”