Missed appointments costing Trust over a million pounds

Thousands of patients missing hospital appointments have resulted in costs of over £1 million for the Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.

It is claimed that over 83,000 patients missing appointments had resulted in total costs of £1,264,749 in income. According to the data, which was released as part of a freedom of request act, 70,430 people missed their time slots at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) and a further 12,871 appointments were missed at Airedale Hospital last year.

The information has been said to have shocked local politicians. Bradford Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee chairman Mike Gibbons told ilkleygazette.co.uk: “It’s a massive disadvantage people not turning up for appointments, not just for themselves and the NHS but also for other people waiting to get even on the appointment list. It’s a waste of time, resources and money.”

The idea of penalties for those who don’t turn up have been suggested, however, Mr Gibbons says he thinks this is a bad idea. Instead the Trust is hoping that its sms messaging reminder service, which it recently introduced will help reduce the amount of appointments missed.

A BRI spokesman said: “We are centralising the way we manage appointments and working to give patients more choice over the time of appointments to help reduce the number that are missed.”

Meanwhile it was also revealed this week that another hospital has been using text messages for another service. Those at the NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group have been sending messages out to patients in the hope of reducing depression by asking them how they are feeling, according to yorkshirepost.co.uk.

The service has been said to have worked well, with patients claiming that the service has been useful.