Missed patient medical appointments cost more than £4m a year to Blackpool hospitals.
More than 39,000 patients missed their appointments in the last 12 months costing vital funds which could have been used to ensure other patients receive timely treatment.
Each new appointment costs Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on average £153 and follow-ups cost about £83.
The majority of missed appointments are for follow-up treatment with more than 27,500 people not attending hospital in the past 12 months while more than 11.500 failed to keep new appointments during the same period.
The Trust has made tremendous efforts to encourage patients to either keep or, if necessary, cancel their NHS appointments by using reminder text alerts, telephone messages and appointment letters.
“Non-attendance is a major issue for the NHS as a whole as it impacts directly on waiting times and costs. If patients know they no longer require an appointment or cannot attend for some reason it is vital they inform us so the appointment can be offered to someone else,” said Jane Rowley, Head of Performance, Planning and Contracting at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
“We understand that sometimes people are unable to attend their appointment for a number of reasons, including feeling better, transportation problems or personal reasons, but one of the reasons can be that they simply forgot. If a patients no longer require their appointment they should contact the Appointments office on 01253 953540. We recognise that patients have not always been able to get through to the appointments office and this may contribute to an appointment being missed or not cancelled. We are working hard to improve this service.
“This issue costs our hospitals more than £4m a year, and in the current financial climate it is more important than ever that we work with patients, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and GP’s to make sure we’re using our resources as effectively as possible,” Jane added.
“Patients who do not attend appointments have an enormous impact on the healthcare system in terms of cost and increased waiting times and significantly add to delays along the patient pathway. We urge patients to help alleviate this problem by calling the hospital to cancel the appointment if it is no longer needed.”