£5m cost of missed appointments

This Is Wiltshire: David Moss, the deputy general manager for outpatients at GWH David Moss, the deputy general manager for outpatients at GWH

MISSED appointments after patients have failed to cancel or reschedule cost the Great Western Hospital £5m last year.

According to the hospital, 40,000 people failed to turn up for a consultation during 2013-2014.

This represents five per cent of all 730,000 outpatient appointments.

Every missed appointment costs the Great Western Hospital NHS Foundation Trust £100 on average.

Failing to attend means that staff waste an opportunity to see other patients who may have been waiting to be seen by consultants.

This also means that patients will lose their referral and have to ask their GP for a new one.

Although some missed consultations were due to clinics being cancelled because of staff illnesses or emergencies, most were simply down to patients not turning up.

GWH chief executive Nerissa Vaughan urged patients to text or phone the hospital to cancel in advance.

“Some of those will be people who have chosen not to turn up without letting us know, but there will be some where our own process needs to be improved,” she said.

“We know there is a process to get right, but the majority of these people are simply patients who just didn’t turn up. “If you have an appointment and you can’t make it, and there’s perfectly good reasons why many people cannot attend, please let us know and then we can reallocate the appointment to somebody else.”

The introduction of a telephone reminder service in August 2013 has helped to reduce missed appointments by 35 per cent, approximately 250 a week.

The service allows patients to receive a text message or automated telephone call a week before their appointment, reminding them of the location, date and time of their appointment and asking them to confirm, cancel or rearrange.

David Moss, deputy general manager for outpatients, encourages residents to ensure they were signed up to the reminders.

“This service aims to make it easier for patients to cancel or rearrange,” he said. “If we know a patient won't be attending, we can offer the appointment to someone else. By making sure all of our appointments are used, we can see more patients and patients will be seen sooner. I'm really pleased with the result so far.

“If we already have your phone number you don’t need to do anything. However if you do not think we have your up-to-date telephone number you can register your number on our website www.gwh.nhs.uk, call the Booking Centre on 01793 604080 or speak to the receptionist at your next appointment.”

Comments (5)

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8:34am Fri 16 May 14

ChannelX says...

And some people still whinge on about a paltry £400k wasted on wi-fi.

But it's OK that 12 times that amount was completely wasted (and will be every year), because this is the NHS and nobody must ever say anything bad about the NHS because the NHS is great. Even though it clearly isn't.
And some people still whinge on about a paltry £400k wasted on wi-fi. But it's OK that 12 times that amount was completely wasted (and will be every year), because this is the NHS and nobody must ever say anything bad about the NHS because the NHS is great. Even though it clearly isn't. ChannelX
  • Score: 1

10:19am Fri 16 May 14

anotherimigrant says...

Lies Lies Lies. 5 million pounds, the entire hospital doesn't spend that on food and medicine, and not even a fraction of that on cleaning.

Someone's trying to grab headlines and telling porky pies
Lies Lies Lies. 5 million pounds, the entire hospital doesn't spend that on food and medicine, and not even a fraction of that on cleaning. Someone's trying to grab headlines and telling porky pies anotherimigrant
  • Score: 1

11:19am Fri 16 May 14

swindondad says...

There is not really a CASH cost to missed appointments (I would guess that the £100 it is just 5% of the total cost of outpatients appointments divided by the number of missed appointments).

The real COST is to those patients who have to wait longer to been seen because slots that could have gone to them have been used for people who did not turn up.

It makes a good headline but it does not tell the true story.
There is not really a CASH cost to missed appointments (I would guess that the £100 it is just 5% of the total cost of outpatients appointments divided by the number of missed appointments). The real COST is to those patients who have to wait longer to been seen because slots that could have gone to them have been used for people who did not turn up. It makes a good headline but it does not tell the true story. swindondad
  • Score: 0

12:11pm Fri 16 May 14

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

For those that just "forget" to turn up, it's difficult to know what else to do - they can even send out text reminders now!

I suspect some appointments are missed because people simply can't get to the hospital due to the ridiculous parking situation up there (no excuse for not letting the hospital know that though).

I suspect some appointments are missed because people have got better (in which case, they probably didn't need a doctor in the first place).

But there are definitely areas where the system could be improved. A relative recently missed an outpatients appointment. He missed it because in the meantime he'd been admitted to hospital. He'd told the staff about the appointment but the message never got as far as the clinic....
For those that just "forget" to turn up, it's difficult to know what else to do - they can even send out text reminders now! I suspect some appointments are missed because people simply can't get to the hospital due to the ridiculous parking situation up there (no excuse for not letting the hospital know that though). I suspect some appointments are missed because people have got better (in which case, they probably didn't need a doctor in the first place). But there are definitely areas where the system could be improved. A relative recently missed an outpatients appointment. He missed it because in the meantime he'd been admitted to hospital. He'd told the staff about the appointment but the message never got as far as the clinic.... The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 1

6:05pm Fri 16 May 14

DyspraxiaDAD says...

This has realled hacked me off seeing this because most recently I had communications with PALS about appointments missed...... not by us...... but by the consultant who shall remain nameless who kept cancelling appointments 24 hours before the appointment day.

He knows who he is if he is reading this!

So because we miss appointments it's a burned to then and their budgets.....

what about the problems you doctors cause by cancelling our appointments with little or no notice?

The inconvenience you cause to people too.
The endless amounts of times we have to phone a doctor or the hospital to get an appointment, wait weeks to be seen then for you to cancel it again too!

In the end I demanded a new consultant and I got it but an investigation was put through the board.

lets hope thay they see that it's not just us that can be a burden on the nhs but them too!
This has realled hacked me off seeing this because most recently I had communications with PALS about appointments missed...... not by us...... but by the consultant who shall remain nameless who kept cancelling appointments 24 hours before the appointment day. He knows who he is if he is reading this! So because we miss appointments it's a burned to then and their budgets..... what about the problems you doctors cause by cancelling our appointments with little or no notice? The inconvenience you cause to people too. The endless amounts of times we have to phone a doctor or the hospital to get an appointment, wait weeks to be seen then for you to cancel it again too! In the end I demanded a new consultant and I got it but an investigation was put through the board. lets hope thay they see that it's not just us that can be a burden on the nhs but them too! DyspraxiaDAD
  • Score: 1

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