Planned Outpatient Appointments Not Being Booked After Hospital Stays

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Many hospital inpatients could be at risk of delayed care or treatment, or not getting the treatment they need at all, because necessary outpatient appointments aren’t being made.

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) has launched an investigation after a patient was discharged from hospital on two separate occasions, on the understanding that they’d get follow-up appointments in outpatient clinics.

But neither of these outpatient appointments were made, which meant opportunities to review their progress or agree next steps for their treatment were missed.

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The HSIB says patient safety could be put at risk if a patient doesn’t receive their intended follow-up appointment, as vital treatment may be delayed or end up not taking place.

It’s really concerning to learn that patients are not being correctly followed up after hospital admissions, and this is particularly worrying where patients need life-saving treatments, such as those battling cancer. 

This delay could have a huge impact on patients’ chances of making a full recovery.

What Changes Need to Be Made?

In an interim report, the HSIB has urged NHS England to introduce new standards and an operating framework to prevent this kind of mistake from happening.

The organisation believes greater use of technology could make a big difference in improving booking process for follow-up appointments, as it would make it more resilient, efficient and mean there is “less reliance on staff vigilance”.

We welcome the considerations for better use of technology to minimise the risk of important appointments being missed.

If you have any concerns about whether your hospital treatment was adequately followed up, and believe your health suffered because mistakes were made, contact our specialist Medical Negligence Solicitors.

Our friendly team of experts offer a free claims assessment and will be happy to discuss your situation with you. We can let you know whether you have grounds to claim compensation, which could help you access any care, support and rehabilitation you may need because of what’s happened.

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