Statistics acquired by an NHS trust in the Midlands indicates that a hospital in Coventry lost over £5 million due to lost appointments.
Patients at University Hospital in Coventry missed tens of thousands of appointments during the previous financial year, costing the hospital a vast amount of cash.
Statistics revealed by the government show that between September 2014 and 2015 13,940 first appointments were missed at the hospital as well as 24,552 follow-up appointments.
Figures from Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commisioning Group, responsible for the purchasing of health services in the Coventry region, indicated that the cost of missed first appointments for the health service is in the region of £200.
Thus, the total cost of missed appointments at the Coventry hospital last year was £5,727,040.
Figures also indicated that the number of missed appointments had increased significantly from the year previous.
Missed first appointments increased by 13%, while missed follow-up appointments increased by 9%.
Nationally, the number of missed hospital appointments has hit its highest level since 2010.
Commenting on the issue, Mark Radford, chief nursing officer at UHCW, emphasised the importance of missed appointments.
“Every missed appointment costs the NHS money, and more importantly could be used to help another patient. It’s really important that people help the NHS by cancelling any appointments that they can’t attend or no longer need. We know that most people don’t intend to miss appointments, so we’d encourage all our patients to sign up for our free text reminder service when they get their appointment letter.”
Figures indicate that patients missed 5.5 million appointments at hospitals trust across the UK in the year to September 2015.
This suggests that the figure for a 12-month period would be in the region of 8 million.
The worst NHS trust in England for missing first appointments was Homerton in Hackney, with one in six being missed.
Despite attempts by the NHS to remind patients of appointments by texting them, it seems that any action taken has been largely unsuccessful.
The overall financial scale of missed appointments in the NHS literally it runs into hundreds of millions of pounds.
Considering that the NHS faces a deficit of £2 billion, reducing this figure considerably in the future would make a massive financial contribution to the health service as a whole.
In November 2015, approximately 25,000 texts were sent out to patients.
But it seems that more action must be considered by the health service.