New system for appointments

Scarborough Hospital's Head of Operational Efficiency Sarah Piper is leading a new project to improve the booking of outpatient's appointments.'120338a.
Scarborough Hospital's Head of Operational Efficiency Sarah Piper is leading a new project to improve the booking of outpatient's appointments.'120338a.

SCARBOROUGH Hospital’s appointment booking system is undergoing a massive overhaul aimed at reducing the number of cancelled appointments.

Starting today, a new system is being brought in called “follow up partial booking”, which has already proved successful at York Hospital.

Sarah Piper, head of operational efficiency, is overseeing the project and can’t wait to get started.

She said: “In past years there have been a huge number of rescheduled appointments.

“We were booking people onto clinics two years in advance, without even being able to guarantee whether the clinic would take place.

“Around 58 per cent of appointments made were being rescheduled, so we had to look at what we could do to make that better.”

Miss Piper explained that transferring from the old to the new system will be a huge task, but will be well worth it in the long run.

As of today, every follow-up appointment booked for after April 2 - around 12,000 appointments - will be cancelled.

Letters will be sent out to patients explaining that their original appointment has been cancelled, but they will receive another letter four weeks before they are due to come in inviting them to ring and make an appointment that suits them.

Miss Piper said: “It gives the patient more choice and flexibility over times and possibly days of the week, depending on the clinic. Patients may even be seen sooner than they were expecting.”

She added: “We understand that some people might find receiving a cancellation letter disturbing, but it will explain exactly what is happening and what they need to do.

“We’re expecting more phone calls, so we’re getting more phone lines staffed and working on making the experience when people call in as easy and stress-free as possible.”

The system, which was piloted in cardiology, is for follow up appointments only. Booking of initial appointments remains unchanged.