Help reduce waiting times for patients

NHS Tayside is supporting a national campaign that highlights the message that a missed outpatient appointment is a wasted appointment - and can lead to longer waiting times for all patients.

The Scottish Government ‘Help us to treat you - If you can’t come in , call in’ campaign aims to address the issue of patients who do not attend (DNA) their appointments.

The campaign is part of the 18 Weeks Referral to Treatment (RTT) programme, which is working towards 18 weeks becoming the maximum wait for treatment following a GP referral for non-urgent patients. It is promoting the message that if you have a hospital appointment, you should make sure you keep it.

This campaign forms part of NHS Tayside’s own programme of activity, redesign of services and innovation called Steps to Better Healthcare, which is working towards the organisation’s vision of healthcare and services for the future. ‘Referral and Outpatients’ is one of the strands of the Steps to Better Healthcare programme.

The foundations of Steps to Better Healthcare are firmly set in finding new and different ways to improve the experiences of patients and to continue to improve healthcare for all our communities in Tayside.

NHS Tayside Chairman Mr Sandy Watson said: “In these difficult economic times, we are working hard to drive up quality in everything we do, and ensuring any redesign of services puts patients at the centre of their own healthcare.

“This national campaign fits in very nicely with what we are doing in our own outpatient project.”

NHS Tayside Referral & Outpatient Programme Manager Kerry Wilson said: “It is vital you contact the hospital as soon as possible if you cannot attend for your appointment.

“A missed appointment is a wasted appointment and leads to longer waiting times for all patients.

“Last year over 40,000 patients did not turn up for their appointment and these couldn’t be offered to anyone else.”

“If you can’t come in, call in!”

It is also important that if your address or phone number changes, or that if there any dates that you can’t attend for an appointment, that you let your GP and the hospital know.

All of these measures will help you to be seen sooner for your outpatient visit.

It is also important to make sure you allow enough time to get to your hospital appointment, that you know where to go and how to get there.

Detailed travel information is available from Traveline Scotland which provides up-to-date public transport, journey planning and timetables.

You can access Traveline Scotland at or by telephoning 0871 2002233

Kerry added: “We want to hear your views on how we can make outpatient clinics better, so please email your suggestions to