Missed appointments cost Queen Elizabeth Hospital £2.7m

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn. Photo: QEH

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn. Photo: QEH - Credit: QEH

Missed appointments cost a Norfolk hospital nearly £3m last year.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn says patients fail to turn up for 6pc of the 300,000 appointments it makes every year.

For a new patient the average cost to the NHS of a no-show is £150, meaning missed appointments cost the QEH up to £2.7m.

It says with demand increasing for its services, every appointment missed is an opportunity missed for another patient who could have been seen in that time slot.

It is launching a campaign to cut the number of misses. It is urging people to attend appointments – or tell the hospital as soon as possible if they cannot.

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With the schools about to break up for summer and the associated increase in family days out and holidays, the QEH said it was keen to underline the importance of clinic appointments being kept.

Trudy Taylor, head of patient services at the hospital, said: 'On average we have 1,000 appointments per day so even a small percentage of missed appointments amounts to a significant number.

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'We recognise that people have busy lives so would ask they please look ahead to their appointment time and tell us of any clashes.

'We know that patients sometimes experience difficulty in getting through, particularly at busy times such as Monday mornings so we're highlighting two other forms of making contact.'

Data released earlier this year showed that nationally, misssed appointments cost the NHS £1bn in 2016/17. The money could have funded 250,000 hip replacemnts.

Some 8m hospital outpatient appointments were missed. Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England, said turning up for appointments was a way patients could help the NHS as it grappled with a funding crisis. She appealed for people to use the NHS resonsibly, to ensure care was there for those who needed it.

She urged patients to cancel appointmeents in good time, so someone else could benefit from the resource.

The QEH said all its appointment letters included a contact number patients could use to call the clinic.

Alternatively, people can change their appointments by freephone on 0800 136564 or by email at AppointmentChanges@qehkl.nhs.uk.

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