An article in The Times reports that NHS England health chiefs claim that missed appointments are costing the NHS £1 billion per year. However, patients reject accusations that they are wasting £1 billion of public money by missing hospital appointments, arguing that the NHS needs to stop sending them inconvenient times by post.
Official figures show that 7.9 million appointments were missed in 2016-17, meaning that patients do not turn up to one in 15 of the 119 million appointments scheduled. At an average cost of £120 per slot, this equates to about £950 million worth of doctors’ time was wasted last year.
Jane Cummings, the chief nursing officer for England, said the NHS was “under pressure as never before” and she called for the public to be more responsible about wasting time and resources in what is likely to be the busiest week of the winter.
A million more cataract operations or 250,000 hip replacements could be funded if the NHS did not have to pay for appointments that people failed to attend, she said.
The article also reports that doctors said that drunks and people with minor problems contribute little to overcrowding in A&E, which they said was caused mainly by sick patients needing beds.