The HSE has urged members of the public who can’t make medical or healthcare appointments at South Tipperary’s hospital and community services to cancel well in advance to ensure the slot can be filled by another patient.
The HSE points out that unfilled appointments result in waste of money to the health service as well as being a lost opportunity to treat another patient, who may be on a waiting list.
HSE spokesman Fiachra O’Ceilleachair gave the experience of the HSE’s Speech and Language Therapy Service in South Tipperary as an example.
Last year, 9.4% of appointments offered by the Speech and Language Service in South Tipperary were not taken up.
He said this service was both valuable and sought after and there were substantial waiting lists so the HSE would expect that appointments would have maximum uptake.
“The HSE accepts there will always be unavoidable cancellation by clients due to unforeseen circumstances. However, in the event where clients are not attending, it can lead to less opportunity for those, who are eagerly awaiting intervention.”
He urged people who need to cancel an appointment to do so at the earliest opportunity.
“While some appointments may be refilled with another client, in practical terms late cancellations are difficult to re-fill.”
The Speech and Language Therapy Service has been taking a pro-active approach to reducing the rate of non-attendance at appointment over the past years.
Mr O’Ceilleachair said clients are given written advice of expectation regarding attendance prior to an initial assessment and again prior to the commencement of therapy. And they were “orientated” to the therapy process to maximize commitment and uptake.
He pointed out that an encouraging decline in the level of non-attendance at appointments has been observed by the Speech and Language Therapy Service so far this year.