Missed appointments costing Weston General Hospital millions

PUBLISHED: 07:02 10 October 2016

Weston General Hospital.

Weston General Hospital.

Archant

Around 6,600 hours of NHS time has been wasted by people who miss their appointments at Weston General Hospital, at a potential cost of £5.9million.

In total, 39,602 of the hospital’s appointments were marked as ‘did not attends’ (DNAs) between April 2013 and August this year at Weston-super-Mare’s hospital – 7.6 per cent of all the appointments made.

Each missed appointment costs Weston Area Health Trust (WAHT) between £100 and £150 – which means DNAs have cost the trust between £3.9million and £5.9million in little more than three years.

But, the cost of missed appointments to the hospital is not purely a financial one. The trust’s associate director of nursing, Julia Stroud, told the Mercury it impacts upon waiting times for other patients and means the hospital cannot make ‘optimal use’ of its medical staff.

Even if each missed appointment lasted for just 10 minutes, 6,600 hours of appointment time has been wasted since April 2013.

Reducing the hospital’s DNA rate has been marked as a priority for WAHT and the hospital now leaves voice reminders on people’s landlines and sends texts to their mobile phones to remind them about their appointments.

Weston General Hospital.Weston General Hospital.

As a result, the number of DNAs has already reduced, from 13,262 during 2013/14 to 12,511 for 2014/15 and 9,849 for 2015/15 – with 3,980 DNAs from the beginning of April to the end of August this year.

Ms Stroud said she is pleased to see a reduction in the number of missed appointments.

She thanked patients who let the hospital know if they are unable to make it, and added: “People are beginning to realise not attending their appointments can have a big impact on the care we’re able to deliver to our patients.

“However, more than 8,000 appointments are still missed each year at the trust because patients are unable to attend – that’s people who could have received our attention. Those missed hospital appointments cost between £100-150 each on average.

“Patients who do not inform us they are unable to attend their appointment have a growing impact on waiting time. It also means we are not making optimal use of our doctors and nurses’ time.”

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