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Missed appointments cost Frimley Health Trust £6m

Missed hospital appointments have cost the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust almost £6million.

It comes at a time when the NHS is ‘under incredible stress’, according to the British Medical Association (BMA).

The data, produced by NHS England, is based on the 49,937 people who either did not show up to their appointment or arrived too late to be seen at Frimley Health hospitals, which include Wexham Park in Slough and Heatherwood in Ascot, between September 2017 and September 2018.

The figure has been calculated by multiplying this number by £120, the estimated unit cost for every outpatient appointment, which totals about £5.99m.

Dr Robert Harwood, chairman of the BMA’s consultant committee, said: “It is important that no appointments are wasted at a time when the NHS is under incredible stress.

“We should not stigmatise patients who may for legitimate reasons be unable to attend. However, we do need the NHS to emphasise through clear publicity to the public that, given the current unprecedented pressure, patients should make every possible effort to rearrange their appointment so that another person is able to receive treatment in their place.”

The 49,937 missed appointments make up 10 per cent of the 503,418 outpatient appointments at the trust during the 12 months to September 2018.

A spokesman for Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “We understand that sometimes patients may be unable to keep an appointment but we ask that they tell us in advance so that we can re-
allocate it to someone else who needs it.

“The trust employs a number of methods to make attending appointments easier for patients, such as text message reminders, and our electronic referral service allows people to select a date and time of their choice.

“Our appointments teams can help patients reschedule should circumstances change.

“Some follow-up appointments can take place by telephone and we are exploring other ways in which technology can reduce the need for patients to attend hospital in person.”

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  • be_ transparent

    00:12, 19 January 2019

    This is the thinking of the National Illness Service. It's worried about you turning up to be treated because no-one gets to make more money without 'service users' generating demand. In China you pay doctors when you are well and stop paying them when you are ill. How can you have a country with Coca Cola and fast food everywhere and be surprised that the hospitals are full of ill people ? It's the corrupt food and medical system that's literally making sure they end there. If you really want a national health service - how about chasing appointments for people to turn up at the gym or nutritionist and keep people healthy rather than creating an environment where they will inevitably fall ill and then complain about it as if its a surprise ?

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  • Stranger

    19:07, 18 January 2019

    What kind of logic is this bizarre patient-blaming outburst? The "60% of the time it works every time" sort of logic? In the real world, sans "creative accounting", if a patient misses an appointment, it frees up resources that can be used to provide NHS services to other patients. Suppose a guy has an accident at work and needs physio. He gets a series of 4 appointments at the hospital. After the 2nd appointment, he feels well enough to do without a third, so he skips it. Now the therapist and room allocated for him can be redirected for the benefit of someone else. What these 6-figure-salary penpushers seem to be saying is, if he HADN'T been allocated an appointment, our receptionist would not have spent 5 minutes filling out 50 pence worth of forms, and if they add up all those minutes and forms, it amounts to £5.9 million... LOL. No. how deeply do you want us to really look at your accounting practices - consider removing "Trust" from your name.

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  • Pursuer

    18:06, 18 January 2019

    I note there is no apparent acknowledgement that cancellations are sometimes are not recorded by hospital, GP or appointments administrators. All focus seems to be directed at patients. On two occasions I have had to cancel allocated appointments only to find that the cancellation has not been recorded. Thus my practice is to make a follow up enquire to check whether or not the appointment which I have cancelled has been properly recorded in the appointments system.

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