3,500 patients still wait for appointments

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Thousands of hospital patients are still waiting for overdue appointments following a glitch with a computerised booking system.

Latest figures show Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust has a backlog of almost 3,500 patients waiting for follow-up appointments.

The figure has fallen from around 20,000 a year ago, when a new system for booking outpatient appointments had run into chaos.

Bosses at the trust, which runs Pontefract, Pinderfields and Dewsbury hospitals, have fixed the fault but are behind with clearing the backlog.

A report to the latest trust board meeting said: “The current position is that there are 3,461 patients on the overdue follow up backlog report.”

Action plans were in place to clear the backlog by February this year, with: “Focus put onto those patients that were overdue by more than one year.”

The problems started when patients received out of date letters, had appointments cancelled at short notice and turned up when hospitals were not expecting them.

Doctors complained of empty appointment slots at clinics after the new system was installed in September 2013.

Mid Yorkshire said no patients have been harmed as a result of delayed care caused by the glitch.

Bosses said they were now expecting to have the backlog cleared in the next six to eight weeks.

A trust spokesman said: “We have already delivered improvements in waiting times, reduced cancelled appointments and we have introduced standardised outpatient processes across the trust.

“The number of patients waiting for a follow up appointment is reducing each month and a new policy has been put in place to make sure this process is much more robust and managed.”