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Missed hospital appointments cost Airedale hospital trust £1.2M
5:50pm Sunday 8th September 2013 in Keighley
More than 12,000 appointments were missed by patients at Airedale Hospital last year – costing the trust more than £1.2 million – it has been revealed.
The total number – 12,871 – was 344 up on the figure in 2011.
Across Bradford district last year, more than 83,000 hospital appointments were missed.
The figure was 70,430 at Bradford Royal Infirmary, despite new ways of reminding outpatients of appoint-ments, such as text messaging.
Bradford Council’s health scrutiny committee chairman, Mike Gibbons, said the numbers were “a massive disadvantage”, but any suggestion of imposing penalties on those who failed to turn up would not be realistic.
“It’s a massive disadvantage people not turning up for appointments, not just for themselves and the NHS but also for other people waiting to get on the appointments list. It’s a waste of time, resources and money,” he added.
“The idea of penalties has been looked at in the past, but I don’t think it’s a step the NHS wants to take. Collecting penalties would be difficult in reality. It’s a matter of individual responsibility for making sure if you need an appointment you must keep it.”
Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, the Liberal Democrat group leader on the council, said taxpayers paying money for professionals to “sit and do nothing” while waiting for people to turn up were among the worst hit. And she added: “We’ve got to look at the causes of these misses rather than just the bold figures to see why it’s happening, then try to resolve it.”
Conservative group leader, Worth Valley councillor Glen Miller, said: “There are too many ways of people making excuses and getting out of missing appointments for penalties to be enforced, except maybe people who regularly miss appointments not to be seen so urgently.
“I find the text messages the hospitals send out as reminders are useful, but I’d ask the trust to monitor these figures carefully – maybe if people are missing these appointments they didn’t need them in the first place.”
Andrew Catto, executive medical director at Airedale NHS Found-ation Trust, said: “Most of our consultant appointments now use the reminder service.
“We would also like to thank our local community for their support. The majority of patients do attend their appointments with us, and we will continue to explore other systems to further reduce our missed appointments.”
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