PILGRIM REPORT ONE: 50k hospital dates a year rearranged

Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.
Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.

About 50,000 appointments a year at Boston Pilgrim Hospital are rearranged or postponed, The Standard can reveal.

The figures, which equate to almost a thousand every week, relate to outpatient dates at the Sibsey Road hospital and have been revealed following a Freedom of Information request.

The data shows 48,249 appointments had to be changed in 2012/13, with the numbers at 50,647 in 2011/12, 47, 907 in 2010/11, 46, 641 in 2009/10 and 53, 214 in 2008/09.

A spokesman for United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust, which runs the Pilgrim, said: “We apologise for any inconvenience caused when appointments are rearranged, and we expect to see a reduction in the number of outpatient appointments in all specialties being reduced as we move to a new booking system later this year.”

It is not clear how many of those are put off by the hospital or by patients changing the date or not turning up.

However a separate Freedom of Information request submitted by The Standard showed 5,321 people on the waiting list for admissions for surgery or other procedures in 2012/13 had their original dates changed.

Of those 1,556 were cancelled by the hospital – 514 because no surgeon was available and 444 because of no general beds. The rest – 3,765 – were called off by patients.

A spokesman said this is caused by a variety of reasons – such as a rush in emergencies or increased demand over the busy winter period.

A spokesman said: “The trust recognises the inconvenience this may cause and apologises where patients have had an operation rearranged. The trust will be opening additional beds at Pilgrim Hospital for vascular surgery and general surgery later this year which will help to alleviate the situation.”

They urged people to notify the hospital if they know they can’t attend (see top left) to save unnecessary upheaval.