Patient Access Principles for Outpatient Appointments
Reasonable notice for Outpatient appointments
For an appointment offer to be deemed reasonable, the patient must either agree to the appointment, or be allocated an appointment with a minimum of three calendar weeks’ notice.
Earlier dates under three calendar weeks can be offered if available and accepted by the patient.
If patients are not given reasonable notice, they should not be discharged back to their GP/referrer.
If the patient declines or is unable to accept two reasonable offers of an appointment, then they will usually be discharged back to their GP/referrer.
Patient Cancellation of Appointment
By telephone - If a patient telephones to cancel and rearrange their appointment, a new appointment date should be agreed at the time of cancellation where possible. If patients are unable to accept a new date with a reasonable offer (within three calendar weeks), they will be discharged back to care of their GP/referrer.
Through Patient Hub - If a patient requests to rebook their appointment using Patient Hub, a new appointment date should be agreed within two working days of the time of cancellation where possible. If patients are unable to accept a new date with a reasonable offer (within three weeks), they will be discharged back to their GP/referrer.
If patients cancel or request to rebook two consecutive appointments by telephone or Patient Hub and reasonable notice was given (minimum of three weeks notice) or the patient agreed a date, they will usually be discharged back to their GP/referrer unless the treating clinician has concerns and requests that the patient is offered a further appointment.
If a patient cancels or requests to rebook their appointment twice by telephone or Patient Hub (or is unable to accept a reasonable offer of an appointment) and this is due to an unrelated long-term medical condition that is unlikely to resolve in less than three weeks, then the patient should be discharged back to the care of their GP/referrer. Similarly, if patients are unavailable for social reasons (i.e. are away for more than three weeks), they should also be discharged back to the care of their GP/referrer following a clinical review.
Patient Does Not Attend their Outpatient Appointment
- Providing reasonable notice of the appointment was communicated to the patient/carer, patients who did not attend should be returned to their GP/referrer if they do not attend their first new outpatient appointment for their attention.
It is their responsibility to identify the next step in the patients care, which may include the referrer contacting the patient to emphasise the importance of them attending any future appointment.
- If a patient does not attend a follow up appointment, following clinical review, these should be returned to the GP/referrer. A further appointment will only be made if the treating clinician has concerns that require the patient to be offered a further appointment. Where indicated, the referrer should emphasise to the patient the clinical importance of them attending any future appointment.