• This document outlines the policies and procedures regarding appointments for patients at Psychiatry-UK.
  • The purpose of this policy is to ensure efficient and effective management of appointments, prioritise patient care, and minimise disruptions to service delivery.

Appointment Procedures

  • Appointment Booking: Patients can book appointments through various methods, including online self-booking, doctor requests, or with assistance from administrative staff.
  • Appointment Cancellation: Patients can cancel appointments through their MedQare account. Please refer to the Appointment cancellation Policy section below
  • Appointment Non-Attendance: Procedures are in place to address instances of patient non-attendance, including recording DNAs (Did Not Attend) and rescheduling appointments. Please refer to the Appointment Non-Attendance (DNA) Policy section below 

Patient Prioritisation & Waiting List Management

  • Patients are prioritised based on clinical need, risk assessment, referral date and checklist completion date.
  • Where demand outstrips capacity, the organisation implements waiting lists to support timely access to diagnostic services and prioritise patients accordingly.

Pre-Appointment Requirements

  • Information Requests: Patients may be required to provide information such as risk assessments, identification verification, and pre-assessment forms before being able to schedule appointments.
  • Pre-Assessment Checklist: Patients may be required to complete a pre-assessment checklist, including updating their patient profile, uploading proof of identification, proof of address and completion of any pre-assessment forms to be eligible for booking an appointment.

Appointment Booking Process

  • Booking Methods: Appointments can be booked through patient self-booking, clinician requests, or with assistance from administrative staff. Automated reminders are sent to prompt completion of pre-appointment checklists, where applicable.
  • Patients who are sent a ‘self-booking link’ will be required to book their own appointment from a list of consultants and their available appointments. 
  • A reminder will be sent after 14 days by SMS if they have not yet made an appointment. If an appointment is not made within 21 days of receiving the link, this will result in the patient being discharged back to their GP/referrer.
  • Appointment Notifications: Patients receive automated email and SMS notifications regarding appointment booking links, appointment status and appointment reminders. 

Appointment Review and Status

  • Clinician Review: Clinicians review appointment requests and pre-appointment information and endeavour to do so within 48 hours of initial booking, with appointments marked as provisional until reviewed. 
  • Appointment Status Updates: Appointments are categorised as accepted, declined, or cancelled based on the clinician’s review, with notifications sent to patients accordingly.
  • Declined appointments: Occasionally a clinician will decline an appointment due to a conflict of interest, suitability or in exceptional circumstances. The patient will be informed of any declined appointment and in most cases be sent a new booking link to book with a different clinician. 

Appointment Management

  • Rescheduling Limits: Patients can reschedule the same appointment type twice within the same episode of care (For example: Initial assessment, or end of titration review) and will receive reminders of these rescheduling limits when attempting to cancel an appointment.
  • Short Notice Cancellations: Procedures are in place for handling short notice cancellations by patients, whereby appointments can be offered to other eligible patients to help reduce waiting lists. 

Appointment Preparation

  • Identification: Patients are to present valid identification during their first appointment to verify their identity.
  • Technology Requirements: Patients require access to the internet and a device (e.g., computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone). 
  • Psychiatry-UK uses the MS Teams platform for video appointments
  • Patients choosing to attend their video appointments via a laptop or computer can access the MS Teams Platform using their internet browser. 
  • Service users choosing to attend their video appointments via a mobile phone or tablet will need to download the MS Teams app to their device. 
  • Technical assistance is available by making contact using our web chat function or creating a support ticket on our website IT Support. Service Users can also make contact via phone to our contact centre on 0330 124 1980 (Mon-Fri: 8am-8pm; Sat-Sun: 9am-5pm).

Appointment Cancellation Policy

  • Patient Cancellation: Instances of patient cancellations are recorded as cancellations.
  • A patient can only cancel the same type of appointment twice. The third appointment cannot be changed and if unable to attend will be considered a non-attendance.
  • A Patient Cancellation within 48 hours of the appointment being due to take place will be considered a cancellation and an appointment non-attendance (DNA).
  • Appointments cannot be cancelled by a patient within 24 hours. Failure to attend will result in a non-attendance (DNA) being recorded against the patient.
  • Clinician Cancellation: Clinician cancellation results in a new appointment link being sent to the patient without consequence to patients cancellation record.

Appointment Non-Attendance (DNA) Policy

  • Instances of patient non-attendance are recorded as a DNA (Did Not Attend) for the following reasons:

    – A patient informs Psychiatry-UK that they will be unable to attend the appointment and the notification is received with less than 48 hours’ notice, including reasons such as sickness, an emergency or other extenuating circumstances.
    – A patient is unable to confirm their identity by producing their photographic ID at the start of their appointment and they have not provided this in advance by uploading it to their patient record.
    – A patient is attending their appointment, but the location is deemed unsuitable for a confidential discussion (e.g., a public space with lots of people traffic, etc.)
    – A patient is having technical difficulties which have not been resolved when alternative platforms have been provided by the consultant.

  • Two instances of patient non-attendance within a single episode of care will result in discharge from Psychiatry-UK.
  • First appointment non-attendance: Communication will be sent the patient’s GP or referrer to inform of non-attendance. A new appointment will be arranged.
  • Second appointment non-attendance: Communication will be sent the patient’s GP/referrer to inform of discharge due to second non-attendance. The patient is informed that they will be discharged back to their GP/referrer.
  • Clinician DNA: Clinician non-attendance results in appointment rescheduling without consequence to patients. The patient will be sent a new booking link automatically.
  • Technical DNA by Clinician: Technical failures resulting in appointment non-attendance are addressed without consequence to patients. The patient will be sent a new booking link automatically.

Appointment Notifications

  • Booking Link Email & SMS: sent when a patient is ready to make a booking as they have completed their pre-appointment checklist and/or reached the top of the appointment waiting list. The booking link expires 21 days after being sent.
  • Booking Link Reminder Email & SMS: sent when a patient has not booked their appointment within 14 days of receiving a booking link. Advises that they have 7 days left until their link expires.
  • Appointment Pending Email: sent when a patient has an appointment booked and is in ‘pending’ status whilst the clinician reviews the request and pre-appointment information. 
  • Appointment Declined or Cancelled Email: sent when a patient’s pending appointment has been declined by the clinician or cancelled by the clinician or administrative staff.
  • Appointment Confirmation Email & SMS: sent when a patient’s pending appointment has been confirmed by the clinician
  • Appointment Reminder Notifications: Patients receive reminders 96 hours (by email and SMS) and 24 hours (by email) before appointments, providing instructions and information on cancellations and non-attendance policies.

Key Facts and Considerations

  • Record Keeping: All actions related to appointments are recorded in Psychiatry-UK’s electronic care records.
  • Reasonable Adjustments: Psychiatry-UK supports with reasonable adjustments to facilitate patient access to services, including alternative communication methods.
  • NHS Funded Patient Discharge: NHS Funded patients may be discharged after repeated non-attendance, with re-referral options available.
  • Self-funded patients are not affected by repeated non-attendance.
  • Other contract funded patients may be subject to alternative processes and are contract specific.

If you have any questions not covered in the above policy please check our FAQ section or use our ‘Live Webchat‘ to chat with one of our agents.