The Royal Oldham counts the cost of missed patient appointments

Nicola Firth - Royal Oldham Director of Nursing and Interim Chief Officer
The Royal Oldham counts the cost of missed patient appointments
26 February 2019

The Royal Oldham Hospital is asking patients who are unable to attend their hospital appointment to do the right thing; cancel or rearrange it and free up the slot for other patients, after recent data highlighted the financial cost of patients not attending.

Recent research has shown that missed appointments cost the hospital at least £2.7million a year, based on figures which show that 13% of patients failed to attend their appointment at The Royal Oldham. Figures show that 22,158 patients missed their appointment from a total of 120,133 available clinic slots.

These figures highlight a waste of resources and clinic appointments, which could be used to reduce waiting times for other patients. That’s why the hospital is urging patients to cancel or rearrange their appointment if they are unable to attend.

Nicola Firth, Director of Nursing and Interim Chief Officer at The Royal Oldham Hospital, said: “There are many reasons why patients might not be able to attend their appointment and we’ll do our very best to help them reschedule their appointment for a more suitable time. It’s incredibly important that we don’t waste the appointment slots that we have available given the pressures our hospitals experience financially and in terms of waiting times for appointments.

“We’re urging patients to let us know as soon as possible if they are unable to attend their appointment, so that we can offer the slot to another patient. Many slots are often wasted simply because we don’t have enough notice to offer the slot up to other patients.”

An average appointment costs at least £120 and every time an appointment is missed, the costs of DNAs or ‘Did Not Attends’ adds up. Figures at The Royal Oldham show that 12% of patients fail to show up for their first appointment and almost 13% for follow up appointments. Unfortunately, this figure reflects a similar trend in hospitals across England. Figures from the NHS Confederation suggest that 5.8million appointments were missed in the year to September 2018, which cost the NHS around £700million.

The Royal Oldham Hospital is undertaking more research to understand the reasons why patients don’t attend their appointment and is looking at ways it can better support patients to cancel or reschedule their appointment.

In the meantime, the Trust is urging patients to help the NHS to make the best use of available resources by cancelling or rearranging any appointments they can’t attend. They can do this by calling the Trust’s Booking and Scheduling team on: 0161 778 2233.