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Patients in a waiting room at the Royal Free hospital in Hampstead, north London [April: Robert Stainforth/Alamy].

Apparently every missed NHS hospital appointment costs an average of £125 and we should feel ashamed of the eight million missed appointments in 2016-17, because NHS digital tells us so.

This Writer begs to disagree.

Why were these appointments missed? We have no information.

How many of the people who missed these appointments couldn’t get to them – perhaps because their health condition had deteriorated too far while they were waiting for their slot?

How many couldn’t make it due to poor transport connections?

How many didn’t know they had an appointment because they had not received proper notification?

There are many possible reasons.

And, let’s face it, £125 seems a bit steep.

But those are just my thoughts. What do actual doctors think? Let’s see:

Let’s call that another Tory NHS patient-blaming myth busted.

As the NHS struggles with budget cuts, soaring demand and staff shortages, almost £1bn is being wasted annually by patients missing appointments, figures reveal.

In response, England’s chief nurse has urged patients to cancel their NHS appointments in good time if they are not able to attend, in order to free up resources for those who need them.

The money wasted could fund 1m more cataract operations or 250,000 hip replacements, said Prof Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England.

Data released by NHS Digital revealed that in 2016/17 almost 8m hospital outpatient appointments were missed due to patients not attending, compared with 7.5m in 2015/16.

Source: Patients missing their appointments cost the NHS £1bn last year | Society | The Guardian

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