Thousands of outpatients fail to turn up for Basingstoke hospital appointments (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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Thousands of outpatients fail to turn up for Basingstoke hospital appointments
PATIENTS missing appointments are costing Basingstoke hospital thousands of pounds every month.
Since August 2011, the hospital has made just over 354,000 outpatient appointments – and around 25,700 of these have been missed.
Across hospitals in Basingstoke, Andover and Winchester – which are all now run by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHNFT) – the cost of missed appointments since August last year amounts to at least £1.5million.
Each missed outpatient appointment is estimated to cost the hospital trust between £60 and £120. The estimated cost is based on Government tariffs set for outpatient attendances, and takes into account several factors including staffing costs.
Two thirds of the outpatient appointments made at the hospital are follow-up appointments, and around a third are for new appointments.
Patients at Basingstoke are slightly more likely to attend new appointments, with around six per cent missing their initial appointment, compared with eight per cent not turning up for follow-up sessions.
Mary Edwards, chief executive of HHNFT, said: “It is disappointing when people don’t attend their appointments because the time could be offered to another patient who needs it.
“However, we recognise there will sometimes be reasons why patients can’t attend. It would be helpful if patients could let us know.
“We are looking into a variety of ways to remind patients about their appointments in the future, as well as seeking to take more of our services out into the community, to make it easier for patients to access them.
“Sometimes patients, particularly if they have appointments booked months in advance, can forget all about them. We use texts and emails to remind patients about their appointments.”
Nationally, one in 10 NHS hospital appointments was missed by patients last year, according to the Department of Health.
To let Basingstoke hospital know about appointments which cannot be used, call the booking centre on 01256 313131.