Missed Consultant Appointments Cost London NHS £21m a Month

Patients missing appointments with hospital consultants cost the NHS £21m a month in the first quarter of 2005, according to figures released by the London Assembly Conservative Group. The cost was calculated using NHS figures on both the cost of appointments with consultants and the number that have been cancelled across London.

“Did Not Attend” is an issue right across the UK but the situation in London is more than 50% worse than elsewhere. Nearly 95,000 (15%) people did not attend their first appointment with a consultant and a further 275,000 (19%) did not attend subsequent appointments in the first three months of 2005.

This not only costs the NHS but is a severe drain on resources and fuels the ‘hidden waiting list’ of people who have not yet been assessed by a Consultant and therefore cannot join waiting lists for treatments.

London Assembly Conservatives Health spokesman Elizabeth Howlett said, “These figures will shock every Londoner. The NHS is already severely over-stretched. It simply cannot afford to be this inefficient."

Mrs Howlett suggested one reason for such high figures is that the time between people making appointments and attending them is so long that many people forget they have made them.

She added, "With so many appointments being booked weeks in advance, surely the NHS will find it cheaper to remind people of their appointments, rather than suffer this level of waste.”

story from: www.glaconservatives.com