Editorial Comment

Your Appointment is Cancelled! (2020)

Appointment Cancelled but guess where! Hospital, Yes

I do wonder how many patients receive letters telling them that their appointment is cancelled. No reason is given but in the same envelope there is another letter giving details of yet another appointment. The letters by the way are not signed. There is no Authors name on the letter and even more seriously there is no address and post code showing either the origin of the letter or the address to attend the appointment if one is actually given. It’s a complete mystery!

Reasons for Cancelled Appointments

So a hospital consulting session or clinic is cancelled. Would it not be reasonable to say why or is the reason too embarrassing.  Has the clinician been called to a meeting that is more important than seeing patients.  Is the clinician on holiday, playing golf, going to the gym, just ill or what?. I do wonder.

How many times should a Cancelled Appointment be tolerated.

The next point is how many times would it be reasonable to receive such a cancellation letter. Once, twice, three times or more. It has to be said that a patient has been referred for a reason and initially it might not be an urgent referral. However after say two or three cancellations might the reason for referral have become more urgent? Who decides? The patient? Who does the patient asks? Probably the patient should ask his or her GP to review the referral and if necessary ramp up it’s urgency. But does the patient know that that is an approach that can be taken!

Contracting  for Quality

CCGs in their contracts with hospital trusts should insist on a certain standard of both waiting times and only one cancellation and no more. Perhaps it’s an issue that CQCs should look at too!

Updated March 2020


Robert Campbell

By Robert Campbell<br><img src="" alt="Robert Campbell" class="avatar" width='50' height='50'/>

Started work writing medical cards in 1966 at Staffordshire Executive Council. Have worked at Inner London Executive Council, Hertfordshire Executive Council, Lambeth Southwark and Lewisham FPC, Birmingham FPC, Dudley FPC and Wakefield FPC and Family Health Services Authority. I was seconded to the NHS Appeals Unit and have worked as a full time GP practice manager since 1992 until 2010. I was also an AMSPAR trainer at Park Lane College, Leeds. Now I work as a freelance author.