Deputy Broughan received a response from the HSE in reply to his Parliamentary Question to Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, on figures of no-shows at hospital appointments and those who alert the hospitals of their inability to attend appointments. The figures from the HSE on ‘Did Not Attend (DNA)’ rates are set out in the table below:
The HSE informed Deputy Broughan in their reply that the reduction from 15.5% in 2011 to 13.8% in 2014 is mainly due to the ‘performance improvement initiatives’ such as the ‘Outpatient Services Performance Improvement Programme’. Deputy Broughan welcomes the HSE’s commitment to working towards the UK’s rate of 7.1% DNAs. The HSE also report that they are moving to implement a ‘patient-focussed’ booking system rather than the current ‘fixed’ appointments system where hospitals decide the appointment date and time with no consultation or discussion with the patient around suitability and availability. The proposed new ‘patient-focussed’ booking system will offer appointments “no greater than six weeks in advance” and the method includes discussion with the patient on receipt of their letter with appointment date where the patient will be offered two choices of date and must be given at least three weeks’ notice.
Deputy Broughan says “The Outpatient Services Performance Improvement Programme looks great on paper and indeed some of the strategies that the HSE have already put in place including text message reminder systems, dedicated phone lines and monitoring individual Consultants DNA rates are steps in the right direction but more needs to be done. We are continuing to see growing waiting lists, hearing of cancellations of appointments and treatments and a health service parts of which are still in chaos. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again Varadkar needs to stop getting his photo taken and come up with some real long-term solutions to our growing healthcare crisis”.