This is a guest post on our Blog from Elizabeth, a Sheffield based public health director turned Entrepreneur (@startupliz)
You may have seen in the news today health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s lament about the cost of missed appointments to primary care and hospital clinics. How has such a simple thing as not turning up for an appointment become such a wicked issue for our NHS?
I was recently in my GP surgery and the staff had put up this 6 foot board expressing their frustration at the numbers of missed appointments in my small semi-rural practice. 136 appointments were missed in one month alone. That’s 25 hours of GP time wasted. Perhaps you were one of those people struggling to get an appointment while there where 136 empty slots.
But it isn’t always as simple as MP Jeremy Corbyn states, that people are lazy or just can’t get to their appointment. There is frustration for patients as well. How easy it is to make an appointment at your practice? How long is the wait on the phone for a receptionist? Have you ever tried to ring in to cancel or change an appointment and given up because of the time you spent trying to get through on the phone?
Also, messages such as this board are shouting at me and my fellow waiting room inhabitants who kept our appointments. We see the practice shouting about EPIC FAILURE. Who is shouting at those people who didn’t turn up? And is shouting the answer? How about a cost-effective solution for both patients and practices?
A simple but sophisticated solution like DrDoctor works for both the practice staff and for patients. The DrDoctor system makes it easy to book, cancel, and reschedule appointments. Everyone wins, no need for penalties and shouting billboards. A text to and from your mobile can solve this wicked issue. Let’s focus on constructive solution-finding together using simple technology available to us, Mr. Hunt, and save the shouting and penalties for another era.