St George’s University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is bidding to reduce its waiting lists by reducing the number of people who don’t turn up for Outpatient appointments.

Last year, more than 105,000 people*, around one in seven outpatients, didn’t turn up for their appointments at St George’s – and failed to cancel their appointment.

Patients are being urged to call or go online if they need to cancel or re-arrange their appointment. St George’s has also launched free text message appointment reminders as part of the drive.

For every patient who doesn’t turn up for their appointment, doctors and nurses’ time and medical facilities go unused. It also means other patients who could have been booked into the slot lose out. There is also a financial implication – St George’s does not receive payment for treating patients if the appointment is unfulfilled – costing the Trust millions of pounds every year.

Andrew Rhodes, Medical Director, and Consultant and Professor in Intensive Care Medicine and Anaesthesia, said: “We know there are often real and understandable reasons why people can’t make hospital appointments – but if they don’t let us know, other patients miss out on the treatment they need. We’re simply asking people to call us using the number on their appointment letter as far in advance as possible.

“It only takes a couple of minutes to cancel your appointment – but you will make a big difference to someone else if you do. It will help us to be more efficient, and to see more patients sooner. We know 80% plus of patients do let us know if they need to cancel or rearrange an appointment. We now need the remainder to play their part in helping us and other patients,” he added.

To cancel or re-arrange an outpatients clinic appointment at any of the Trust’s sites, please visit: or call using the number on your appointment letter.

 Patients are also being urged to provide their mobile phone number, and ensure their personal details are updated, either when visiting their GP surgery or at an outpatients clinic appointment.

St George’s has launched an appointment text reminder service – free of charge to patients – for more than 25 of its outpatients services including gastroenterology, paediatrics, trauma and orthopaedics, dermatology, gynaecology and ENT (Ear Nose and Throat).

The text message reminder service is part of the Trust’s plans to improve outpatient services for patients, and the communities we serve.

This excludes outpatients appointment at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Roehampton.

Click here to download the campaign poster.