Thousands fail to attend appointments

Missed appointments stretch resources
Missed appointments stretch resources
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Patients last year missed tens of thousands of appointments with the North West Boroughs Trust which runs Wigan’s mental health services, figures reveal.

Medical professionals say that people who miss – or are late for – appointments are depriving someone else of help at a time of stretched resources.

NHS Digital data shows there were 816,070 care contact appointments with a recorded attendance in the 12 months to April.

These can be done in person or by phone, and cover a range of services including district nursing, occupational therapy, and health visiting. They are provided by hospitals, health centres and other bodies such as councils.

But patients at North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust failed to attend 59,275 of these, or arrived too late to be seen: meaning around one in 14 appointments missed.

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “These are services put on to help keep the population as healthy and as functional as they can. At a time when finance and resources are so tightly stretched, anyone who does not attend an appointment, for whatever reason, has generally deprived someone else of the available time.”

Patients cancelled a further 46,435 appointments, although in these cases they told the trust in advance.

Across England, there were around 58 million care contacts in the period.

People missed or were too late to be seen for 2.5 million appointments – around four per cent.