Published: 09:30, 05 September 2014
Missed hospital appointments have cost Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust £3.3million in the past 12 months – enough to pay 119 extra nurses for a year.
Out of 584,847 appointments booked between September 2013 and August this year, 33,377 patients failed to turn up on the day.
The £3,337,700 cost incurred is based on a £100 average price for each appointment.
Angela Gallagher, the trust’s chief operating officer, said: “While the majority of patients attend their appointments, we are helping people remember the date and urging others who no longer need their appointment to let us know.”
“These are very concerning figures because of the impact it has on the lives of patients and their families" — Dennis Fowle from Maidstone Action for Services in Hospital
The trust is using a call reminder service that prompts patients by phone about their appointments and a booking system that enables people to make a provisional appointment before confirming the date nearer the time.
Further figures revealed that almost a third of all appointments (170,580) were cancelled over 12 months – with half of these called off by the trust itself.
M&TW Trust confirmed it did not record the individual reason for cancellations but stressed the majority of these were rescheduled – though it could offer no supporting figures.
Cancellations peaked in March, with 16,803 appointments affected, 9,085 of which were pulled by the trust.
Dennis Fowle from Maidstone Action for Services in Hospital said: “These are very concerning figures because of the impact it has on the lives of patients and their families, both health-wise and in terms of inconvenience caused.
“We should also look to address the high number of patient cancellations as they put considerable pressure on the trust. From my experience there are many different reasons why patients cancel, but a good communication system has to be in place to ensure patients have all the details.”
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