More than 77,000 visits were made to the Johnson Community Hospital’s outpatients department in 2013.
If you’ve never been a visitor, you might be wondering which services are bringing everyone to Spalding.
The outpatients department opened in 2009 as part of the new hospital and saw all existing clinics from the old Johnson and Holland Road clinics transferred over.
Initially the main clinics were ophthalmology, ear, nose throat (ENT), general surgery, orthopaedics, gastroenterology, diabetes, medicine, paediatrics, urology, gynaecology and cardiology to name but a few.
Many of the outpatients clinics hosted at the hospital are run by different NHS Trusts.
The department also hosts clinics by Lincolnshire Community Health Services (LCHS), NHS Trust nurse specialists such as diabetes, heart failure, cardiac rehab, respiratory, podiatry and health visiting.
Gradually over the last four years the ranges of clinics that we host in the department have increased and we have since commenced GP-led minor operations clinics, venous ablation (varicose vein treatment), sleep apnoea, midwifery/ante natal, maxillofacial, breast care clinic and breast micro pigmentation, as well as seeing an increase in existing clinics with a lot of them now weekly instead of monthly.
As well as the general outpatients clinics, the hospital also hosts a busy phlebotomy department, which carries out on average 2,800 blood tests a month.
It operates through an appointment system, which can be accessed via telephone (01775 652083) or by GP appointment only.
At times the phone line is extremely busy and we appreciate that patients may find it difficult get through.
If you are having problems, you may find the line to be quieter later in the day. The phone line is open until 8pm Monday to Thursday.
The outpatients department now covers on average more than 60 clinics a week, spread across three clinical areas, and the attendance figures have seen a dramatic increase over the four years that we have been open.
While attendance for most clinics is very good, there are certain clinics where some patients fail to attend their appointment.
This subsequently causes delays for other patients in obtaining an appointment to see a specialist when they need to and incurs a large cost to the NHS.
In 2013, we had 5,684 missed appointments, which have cost the NHS an estimated £568,400.
If for whatever reason you are unable to attend your appointment, we urge you to contact the number on your appointment letter to cancel or rearrange so these slots can be allocated to someone else.
n Thank you to Sally Brown, Junior Outpatients Sister, for giving us an insight into Outpatients for this month’s column.