1 Inconveniences for families attending orthopaedic outpatient appointments: prospective study

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BackgroundAttending outpatient appointments at Great Ormond Street Hospital can be time-consuming, expensive, and inconvenient for families. The aim of the study was to gain an understanding of the issues faced by families in attending, in order to develop techniques to try to alleviate them.MethodsAuthors created a questionnaire addressing common issues families face when attending clinics: we enquired about cost and time of travel, missed days at work, loss of earnings for parents, missed school, childcare for siblings, and preference for either a telephone consultation or outpatient attendance for future appointments. Questionnaires were given to patients attending an Orthopaedic Clinic between the months of June and July 2017. Questionnaires were all collected on the same day of the week. Data was input and analysed in Microsoft Excel.Results17 questionnaires were collected from 3 Orthopaedic clinics. Average time to travel was approximately 2 hour 30 mins (Range 15 mins – 12 hours). Total cost of travel was approximately £25 per family. 10/16 Family member had to take time out of work to bring child to clinic. 6/16 had loss of earnings. 8/15 had to arrange childcare. 14/17 patients had to miss school. 5/14 had to apply to school to get leave for their child. 13/16 preferred to attend the outpatient appointment rather than having a telephone consultation in the future.ConclusionDespite many inconveniences in attending outpatient appointments, families appear to prefer having face-to-face appointments with specialists over telephone consultations for future appointments. This study has highlighted and confirmed various issues families face attending OPD for just one speciality. As a leading hospital-care provider we should endeavour to do all we can to lessen this burden.

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