More than a million missed appointments

Queen Elizabeth University Hospital was not immune to the problem.
Queen Elizabeth University Hospital was not immune to the problem.

The NHS is creaking under the strain placed upon its finite resources as we now enter a busy winter period - and it’s not helped by a million missed appointments!

A recent Freedom of Information Act request revealed that Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS were forced to deal with the costs and time involved in 901,939 lost appointments in the last five years.

Perhaps just as concerning are the 3,000 surgeries due to have taken place being cancelled due to patients who simply failed to turn up.

Robin Wright, Director of Health Information and Technology at NHSGGC, said: “Missed outpatient appointments are a major concern for the NHS and it is not only a waste of vital staff resources but also means many other patients are missing specialist treatment and healthcare advice.

“Missed appointments do have a knock-on affect on waiting times.”

“We undertake a range of actions to remind patients to attend including an automated reminder system.

“The system reminds patients of their appointment via an automated voice call which rings the patient up to seven days before their appointment date.

“When the patient answers they are given four options — confirm they are attending, re-arrange the appointment, cancel the appointment completely or speak to an advisor.

“We are currently piloting a text reminder service with the Royal Hospital for Children being the first site to trial this service.”

The exact costs related to these missed appointments is unknown but is believed to be a substantial sum.