Missed appointments costing NHS in Sussex millions of pounds

Missed appointments costing NHS in Sussex millions of pounds

Missed appointments costing NHS in Sussex millions of pounds

First published in News by , Health reporter

Thousands  of hospital appointments are being missed every month, potentially costing the NHS millions of pounds a year.

More than 23,700 people missed their first hospital outpatient appointment over a nine month period, figures from NHS England have revealed.

Missed appointments, also known as did not attends (DNAs), can have an impact on waiting lists as well as the financial cost of wasting staff time.

Someone not turning up can potentially between £100 and £110 for each appointment.


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The figures, which cover the period from April last year to December, do not include no-shows for follow up appointments and clinics, and so do not fully reflect the scale of the problem.

The county's hospitals have around 109,000 missed appointments in total each year, working out a cost of almost £10 million.

Some hospital trusts sometimes over-book outpatient appointments to minimise the effect of DNAs.

Staff can also get on with other jobs if they are left with unexpected free time.

Patients are urged to let hospitals know if they realise they are not going to be able to make their appointment because the slot could be given to someone else.

Some DNAs are unavoidable, such as patients moving away, having to deal with an unexpected emergency or not getting a letter or message beforehand giving them the time and date.

However others do not come along because they forgot about their appointment or felt they no longer needed one.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust recorded 11,927 missed appointments over the nine months while East Sussex Healthcare reported 7,034.

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Western Sussex Hospitals had 4,764 no-shows.

A Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals spokesman said: “When patients do not attend their appointments, it can have a negative effect on the efficiency of our outpatients department and cause delays for other patients to be treated.

“We have a number of initiatives in place to try to reduce the number of patients who do not attend their appointments, including a text service which reminds patients on their mobile phone of their appointment, and patients can also request to cancel or change their appointment online.”

Comments (9)

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5:54am Fri 7 Mar 14

rogerthefish says...

Everyone knows the solution including the NHS- charge £50 for missed appointments.
Everyone knows the solution including the NHS- charge £50 for missed appointments. rogerthefish
  • Score: 5

8:44am Fri 7 Mar 14

SteveUK says...

A frequent problem is being unable to contact the department to change or cancel an appointment, with phones unanswered or calls not returned when messages are left.
A frequent problem is being unable to contact the department to change or cancel an appointment, with phones unanswered or calls not returned when messages are left. SteveUK
  • Score: 8

8:50am Fri 7 Mar 14

qm says...

SteveUK wrote:
A frequent problem is being unable to contact the department to change or cancel an appointment, with phones unanswered or calls not returned when messages are left.
Can vouch for that, particularly being 'bounced' around the system on premium rate numbers during the course of which the line is 'dropped'!
[quote][p][bold]SteveUK[/bold] wrote: A frequent problem is being unable to contact the department to change or cancel an appointment, with phones unanswered or calls not returned when messages are left.[/p][/quote]Can vouch for that, particularly being 'bounced' around the system on premium rate numbers during the course of which the line is 'dropped'! qm
  • Score: 8

10:45am Fri 7 Mar 14

clubrob6 says...

SteveUK wrote:
A frequent problem is being unable to contact the department to change or cancel an appointment, with phones unanswered or calls not returned when messages are left.
Exactly what I was going to say,i recently had to cancel an appointment I phoned after waiting 15 mins with constant recorded messages I was suddenly cut off,this happened several times it took me seven attempts to finally cancel an appointment.So I can see why people give up.
[quote][p][bold]SteveUK[/bold] wrote: A frequent problem is being unable to contact the department to change or cancel an appointment, with phones unanswered or calls not returned when messages are left.[/p][/quote]Exactly what I was going to say,i recently had to cancel an appointment I phoned after waiting 15 mins with constant recorded messages I was suddenly cut off,this happened several times it took me seven attempts to finally cancel an appointment.So I can see why people give up. clubrob6
  • Score: 3

10:46am Fri 7 Mar 14

Brighton Living says...

And having an appointment booked for 12.00 but not being seen until 13.05 cost me my time and if I was charging by the hour that would be £35.00. I don't get me started about the other people in the waiting room all of whom cant speak any English..........
And having an appointment booked for 12.00 but not being seen until 13.05 cost me my time and if I was charging by the hour that would be £35.00. I don't get me started about the other people in the waiting room all of whom cant speak any English.......... Brighton Living
  • Score: 2

10:51am Fri 7 Mar 14

clubrob6 says...

Basically the difficulty getting through to cancel appointment is part of the problem,it took me seven attempts recently to cancel an appointment each time waiting for ages then getting cut off.Perhaps if they increased the staff answering the phones patients wont give in trying to cancel appointments.There should be a service where you can leave a msg and they ring you back when available.There must be loads of cases where people on the day of appointment are too ill to attend but cant get through to let the hospital dept know.
Basically the difficulty getting through to cancel appointment is part of the problem,it took me seven attempts recently to cancel an appointment each time waiting for ages then getting cut off.Perhaps if they increased the staff answering the phones patients wont give in trying to cancel appointments.There should be a service where you can leave a msg and they ring you back when available.There must be loads of cases where people on the day of appointment are too ill to attend but cant get through to let the hospital dept know. clubrob6
  • Score: 5

12:25pm Fri 7 Mar 14

clubrob6 says...

Technology and common sense needs to also play a part for example the cancer specialist should arrange for your CT scan before you see them when you are due a routine scan,that way repeat appointments will be avoided as the specialist has the imformation.Also lots could be done over the internet as lots of visits to the hospital could be avoided,but you have to also cater for people who are not online.
Technology and common sense needs to also play a part for example the cancer specialist should arrange for your CT scan before you see them when you are due a routine scan,that way repeat appointments will be avoided as the specialist has the imformation.Also lots could be done over the internet as lots of visits to the hospital could be avoided,but you have to also cater for people who are not online. clubrob6
  • Score: 2

12:37pm Fri 7 Mar 14

Man of steel says...

I have seen staff time being wasted many times at the Royal Sussex, not sure why it happens as you have to book in when you get there, so when an assistant calls out somebodies name, they should be there, but everybody , the doctor, the nurse, the patients etc are kept waiting for the appoinment time, usually 10 to 15 minutes, before another name is called.
The other problem I have suffered on occasions is not being able to understand what name the person is calling out, and all of the waiting patients just looking at each other and shrugging their shoulders, that usually ended up by one of the patients looking at the front of the paperwork folder, and calling out the name, without that, we would all have been missing our appointment.
I have seen staff time being wasted many times at the Royal Sussex, not sure why it happens as you have to book in when you get there, so when an assistant calls out somebodies name, they should be there, but everybody , the doctor, the nurse, the patients etc are kept waiting for the appoinment time, usually 10 to 15 minutes, before another name is called. The other problem I have suffered on occasions is not being able to understand what name the person is calling out, and all of the waiting patients just looking at each other and shrugging their shoulders, that usually ended up by one of the patients looking at the front of the paperwork folder, and calling out the name, without that, we would all have been missing our appointment. Man of steel
  • Score: 5

1:46am Sat 8 Mar 14

KarenT says...

There should be automated numbers to call and cancel appts, so there is no holding and waiting. Make it easy to cancel appts, and many will do it. Once that is the case and there is no excuse to not cancel, start charging people for not turning up without cancelling. Problem solved! But they won't want to spend the money it takes to create these new automated systems. They'd rather put all the onus on the patients and then make it extremely difficult or virtually impossible to get through. You always get charged for missing private dental or medical appts, but then there is no excuse because it's always so easy to cancel.
There should be automated numbers to call and cancel appts, so there is no holding and waiting. Make it easy to cancel appts, and many will do it. Once that is the case and there is no excuse to not cancel, start charging people for not turning up without cancelling. Problem solved! But they won't want to spend the money it takes to create these new automated systems. They'd rather put all the onus on the patients and then make it extremely difficult or virtually impossible to get through. You always get charged for missing private dental or medical appts, but then there is no excuse because it's always so easy to cancel. KarenT
  • Score: 1

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