Missed appointments ‘cost NHS £11million’

Hull Royal Infirmary.
Hull Royal Infirmary.

Patients not turning up to their hospital appointments in East Yorkshire cost the NHS more than £11million last year.

More than 200 outpatient appointments per day were missed last year, accounting for 7% of all appointments.

According to latest figures, 73,569 people either did not show up for an appointment or arrived too late to be seen in 2017/18.

With the average appointment costing £160, it means that “no shows” cost the local NHS trust a staggering £11,771,040 in just one year.

Meanwhile, the statistics also show that 24% of all outpatient appointments made last year were cancelled during the same period.

It appears that attendance at follow-up appointments are a big problem, with 69% (50,793) of all missed appointments being for follow-up sessions, compared with 22,776 people missing their first hospital appointment.

Last year’s figures represent a 12% rise on those of three years previously, with missed appointments up from 65,699 during 2014/15.

Between 2014/15 and 2017/18, a whopping 290,204 appointments were not attended by patients – which adds up to an eye-watering cost of £46,432,640 to Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Eileen Henderson, head of outpatient services at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The issue of patients failing to attend their appointments is one which has a massive impact on the efficiency of all our services, and how quickly other patients are able to be seen.

“The associated cost of missed appointments runs into millions of pounds each year, and sadly this is something which is not unique to our hospitals – local GP and community health services experience similar issues too.

“We would really urge patients to cancel their appointment with us as soon as possible if they find they are no longer able to make it.”

An East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group spokeswoman said: “We continue to see an increase in demand for NHS services; including a rise in the number of hospital appointments.

“If a patient has an appointment that they are no longer able to attend, we would urge them to inform their hospital team as soon as possible.

“This will allow the service to manage and plan their time appropriately, releasing unwanted appointments to be available for other patients.”