Making your outpatient appointments work for you
Monday, 6 November 2023
Doctors across Cheshire and Merseyside are encouraging patients to make the most of the options available to them when managing their outpatient appointments.
Figures for 2022 show that there were over 4.5 million outpatient appointments across Cheshire and Merseyside, with more than 400,000 of those being missed.
To help patients stay in control of their outpatient appointment, the region’s hospitals offer a range of options which enables them to access services in a way that fits their lives.
One of the ways hospitals are making it easier for patients to manage their outpatient appointment is through Patient Initiated Follow-up, which allows a patient, or carer, to book follow-up appointments as and when they need them, rather than at routine intervals.
Evidence shows that many patients with long-term conditions, or following hospital treatment, don’t need regular follow-up appointments with hospital teams and that it’s more important to have timely access to a specialist clinician when it’s needed most.
More telephone and video appointments are also being offered so that patients can attend appointments in a place that is more convenient to them, saving time, money and reducing the stress of travelling to appointments.
Alongside face-to-face appointments, a video consultation with a clinician can be a suitable and more convenient way for patients to access outpatient services.
Offering a digital-first approach to appointments can help patients to save time and money associated with travel and enable them to access care more quickly. Patients will also soon be able to utilise the NHS App to access digital services and appointments with their hospital.
Professor Rowan Pritchard-Jones, Medical Director at NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, said:
“We know patients don’t always need or want to go into hospital for their outpatient appointment which is why we want to empower them to manage their scheduled appointment in a way that suits their lives.
“Introducing these options – and addressing reasons patients might miss their appointments – helps us to deliver personalised care and means patients only go into hospital when they really need to.”
Dr Doug Robertson, Consultant Physician, Diabetes and Endocrinology at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Clinical Lead for Outpatient Transformation, added:
“It’s really important that outpatient appointments work for our patients and fit into their lives so that they can continue to get the most appropriate care in the right place.
“Through a combination of personalised follow-up and attending outpatient appointments virtually, patients can control how they access their clinicians and care.”
Speak to your hospital clinician about how you can make your outpatient appointment work for you.
If patients are unable to attend their appointment, they’re asked to let their hospital know as soon as possible so their appointment can be given to another patient.
You can find out more about the options available on your hospital’s website.