WDHB Outpatients Department raises concerns over missed appointments

29 April 2015
Despite Whanganui Hospital’s best efforts to remind people of their Outpatient Department appointments, significant numbers are failing to attend and worryingly, many missed appointments are for small babies needing check-ups.
Outpatients Department clinical nurse manager Jan Denman says clinics for baby hip checks, newborn hearing screening, dietary advice and eye checks are the four areas where most missed appointments occur.
“We explain to mums how important it is that babies’ hip placement and hearing are checked but some forget their baby’s appointment, and others change address without remembering to tell us,” Mrs Denman says.
Mrs Denman asks anyone who changes address or who knows they can’t make it to their appointment to please call the hospital on 06 348 1234 and inform the Outpatient Department.
“We send text reminders to those with cell phones the day before their scheduled outpatient/pre-admission appointment which people tell us is helpful. For those who don’t have a cell phone, we try and call their landline.
“When someone calls and says they can’t attend an appointment, where possible, the time booked is given to another patient needing initial or follow-up appointments with Outpatients.”

During the past 12 months, the WDHB had 4221 ‘Did not attends’ (DNAs) out of the overall 49,673 appointments made for patients to attend Outpatient Department clinics. This equates to a DNA rate of 8.5 percent or one person in 12. Of those, 4026 DNA’s were for Whanganui Hospital appointments.
  The top five WDHB clinics with the most DNAs were:
  • Photographic clinic (Ophthalmology/Eye Department), 314
  • Orthoptist (eye) clinic (Ophthalmology/Eye Department), 191
  • Orthopaedic registrar clinic (Orthopaedic Department), 146
  • Hearing/Audiology clinic (Audiology Department), 124
  • Ear, Nose and Throat clinic (ENT Department), 123.
A high proportion of appointment bookings for the following five clinics were DNAs:
  • Taihape Dietary Clinic 45 percent (17 DNAs)
  • Marton Healthy Eating Clinic 39 percent ((24 DNAs)
  • Whanganui Dieticians Diabetes Clinic 38 percent (48 DNAs)
  • Whanganui Orthopaedic Baby Hip Check Clinic 32 percent (78 DNAs)
  • Whanganui Paediatric Dietary Clinic 30 percent (72 DNAs).