No-show patients leave QA Hospital £2.8m out of pocket

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MISSED appointments are costing the trust that runs Queen Alexandra Hospital millions of pounds.

For each slot missed, £100 is lost by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

Between January and October this year, 27,707 clinic meetings were missed – resulting in a £2.8m loss for the trust.

On average it equates to seven per cent of appointments being missed each year.

Figures from a Freedom of Information Act request also found it has been at this rate for the past three financial years, meaning millions of pounds has been wasted on those failing to cancel their appointments.

Mandy Mugridge is a project manager for the hospital trust, and said while the rate has fallen compared with previous years, it is still not good news.

She said: ‘We’re still not happy to accept a do-not-attend-rate of seven per cent.

‘But it’s a huge reduction from four years ago when we started working on this when our average DNA rate was 15 per cent, and often higher in some areas.’

The main reason seems to be because people forget.

‘We have completed repeated audits and the main reason for missed appointments is people forgetting,’ added Ms Mugridge.

‘There are other reasons such as avoiding the potential difficult outcome of the clinic consultation and its impact.

‘For example, sleep clinics sometimes can lead to losing a driving licence and sometimes patients want to avoid a diagnosis.

‘However, these are the exceptions and mainly it is forgetting appointments.

‘In Portsmouth we have attached an average monetary value of £100 per lost clinic appointment and in the current year to date we have had approximately 20,000 lost appointment slots, so we have considerable amounts of lost revenue.

‘But more importantly we would have reduced our wait times further for other patients if we had not lost this valuable capacity.

‘For the hospital it leads to resource implications for our booking teams to try and refill missed appointments at short notice, and inevitably longer wait times for patients.’

Steve Taylor is the manager for Portsmouth Healthwatch, which is a patient-forum group.

He said: ‘People missing appointments costs money, and increases waiting times for patients.

‘Everyone is already aware of waiting time targets and long lists, so it needs to be addressed.

‘It is so important for people to keep their appointments.

‘And if they cannot make it, then they need to let the hospital know as soon as possible.

‘You could be taking up a space that someone else wants.

‘Plus it’s costing money, which isn’t good either.’