Missed appointments may have cost Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust almost £10 million through pandemic
The highest rate of no-shows was in September
Around one in 10 hospital appointments were missed by patients at Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust during the coronavirus pandemic – potentially losing almost £10 million.
The failed appointments waste time and heap pressure on consultants who already face “extraordinary demand” due to the virus, says the British Medical Association (BMA).
NHS Digital data shows that in the 11 months from April last year, there were 62,455 outpatient appointments which people did not show up for.
It means out of 596,420 booked sessions, 10 per cent were unattended.
And with the average outpatient appointment costing £160 – as estimated by several NHS trusts – the no-shows may have cost Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust around £10 million.
Bedford Today approached Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust earlier this week for comment.
Dr Rob Harwood, BMA consultants committee chairman, said it was “concerning” to see the rate of failed appointments given the current backlog in care.
He said: “We urge people not to just simply fail to attend as this wastes an appointment time that could have been used for someone else; someone who might potentially need it more urgently.
“It also places the most pressure on consultants trying to deliver a service under extraordinary demand and in already difficult circumstances.”
At Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust, the rate of missed hospital appointments was at its highest in September when 11 per cent were no-shows, 7,200 in total.
Across England, the highest rates of people failing to show for appointments were in December and January – coinciding with the second wave of the pandemic.
A spokesperson from NHS England said measures were in place in hospitals to ensure patients remained safe.
They added: "People should continue to attend their medical appointments as normal - if you are unable to attend for any reason, please let us know so your appointment can be filled by another patient who may need it.”
Of the missed appointments at Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust, 20,440 were first appointments and 42,015 were follow-ups. All figures are rounded to the nearest five.