Title of Guidelines: Timed Out Patient Appointments






Full text


Dublin Dental Hospital Distribution List: All

Title of Guidelines:


Developed By: Reviewed by:

Clinic Managers - 1st July 2009

Central Medical Records Team - 15th September 2009

Date Recommended: 12th October 2009 Hospital Management Committee

Implementation Date: 6th November 2009

(pending board approval)

Approval By:

Hospital Board 5th November 2009

Review Date: December 2011

Document No: Version/Edition No:


No. Of Pages:


Table of Contents/Index: Page(s)

1.0 Policy Statement ... 3

2.0 Policy Purpose ... 3

3.0 Scope of Policy ... 3

3.1 Elements of a timed outpatient appointments system ... 3

3.2 Principles of a timed outpatient appointments system ... 3

3.3 Evaluation ... 3

4.0 Definitions... 4

5.0 Responsibilities ... 4

5.1 CMRA Responsibilities ... 4

5.2 Operator/Clinician Responsibilities ... 4

5.3 Nursing staff Responsibilities... 4

6.0 Policy/Procedure/Guidelines... 4


1.0 Policy Statement

These guidelines were drawn up by the Heath Strategy Implementation Group and were produced in response to a specific commitment in the National Health Strategy that “the operation of outpatient departments will be improved” and have been accepted by the Department of Health & Children and the Health Services Executive.

These guidelines are not meant to be prescriptive but should provide a useful framework for improving the operation of outpatient departments. The introduction of individual appointment times is consistent with the guiding principle of people-centred approach incorporated in the strategy.

A people-centred health system

• Identifies and responds to the needs of individuals • Is planned and delivered in a co-ordinated way

• Helps individuals to participate in decision making to improve their health.

2.0 Policy Purpose

To endeavour to see all patients within a reasonable time period e.g. 15 minutes and ask patients to advise the receptionist if they are delayed any longer. To ensure when the patient arrives for their appointment that they are advised of any delays in the clinics and continuously kept informed. To advise patients when double booking appointments that “they may

experience delays”

3.0 Scope of Policy

3.1 Elements of a timed outpatient appointments system

The key elements of a timed outpatient’s appointments system are that the system should: − Be developed around the patient needs

− Offer individual appointments

− Be effective and efficient for both the service user and the staff delivering the service − Guarantee that, on arrival at the hospital, the patient will be seen within a reasonable and

specified time period.

− Ensure the patient is seen by an appropriate and competent person

− Ensure all patients have an understanding of why they have attended the clinic and what action is required following their attendance at the clinic.

− Where possible, ensure that patient has a diagnosis and understanding of what is wrong with them, what treatment is required and when they are likely to receive this treatment.

3.2 Principles of a timed outpatient appointments system

− All service providers must be committed and supported.

− Timed appointments must be allocated in a transparent, fair and equitable manner − Allocation of appointment times vary and must be practical and agreed by the service


− The system must be subject to ongoing audit to ensure effective working.

3.3 Evaluation


− Start and finish times of clinics

− Length of time patient waited to be seen − Availability of dental records

− Ratio of new and returned patients

− Percentage of letters forwarded to GDP’s within a certain timeframe − Patient Satisfaction Surveys


4.0 Definitions


5.0 Responsibilities

5.1 CMRA Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of all CMRA staff to ensure that:

− When patients arrive for their appointment that they are advised of any delays in the clinics and continuously kept informed

− Patients are advised when double booking any appointment that “they may experience delays”

− Patients with an appointment should be monitored if he/she is waiting any longer than 15 minutes

− Information is given to patients that they can make queries or pay bills at any of the reception desks

− Patient can pay bills on the 3rd floor patient accounts department − Patients are advised of the waiting times for each waiting list − To continue the Patient Satisfactory Survey

− That all new patients receive a copy of the “Patient Information Leaflet”, which outlines all the services in the Hospital, and copies that copies are available at reception areas

5.2 Operator/Clinician Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the Operator to ensure that: − All patients have a treatment plan costed and explained

− The start and finish times of Clinics are monitored

− Their patient is advised of what the next action is following their appointment e.g. discharged, to attend their own GDP etc.

− To monitor student clinics and to identify unnecessary waiting times for patients to be seen by clinic supervisors.

5.3 Nursing staff Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the nursing staff to:

− Liaise with CMRA staff to make them aware of any delays that may be occurring in the clinical areas

6.0 Policy/Procedure/Guidelines

These guidelines should be implemented on any clinic in the Hospital where more than one patient is booked to the same operator at the same time.

There are many reasons why we have clinics booked in this way:

− To allow for suture removals/check visits whilst new patients have x-rays − Student clinical credits in a Consultant Clinic


− To accommodate emergency appointments − DNA rate in some clinics

− Shorter assessment waiting lists − Shorter recall waiting times

− Easier to follow appointment guidelines for CMRA when a number of staff/students are attending a clinic

7.0 References / Bibliography





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