£2.5m bill for missed appointments

MORE than £2.5million was lost from Ipswich Hospital's budget because of patients who failed to show up for their appointments, it emerged today.

Rebecca Lefort

MORE than £2.5million was lost from Ipswich Hospital's budget because of patients who failed to show up for their appointments, it emerged today.

In 2007/08 around 7,300 new appointments and 16,000 follow-up sessions were missed. Throughout Suffolk just over 40,000 hospital appointments were missed during the year.

When patients do not show up to see doctors and nurses the hospitals lose much-needed income while patients who could have filled the slots miss out on quicker treatment.


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Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital, said the hospital was planning to use new technology, such as text messages, to stop as many appointments being missed in the future.

She said: “If everybody had turned up that we had made appointment for we would have received an additional payment of more than £2.5million.

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“It is something we are looking at very seriously. We are considering how we can use new technology to remind people about their appointments, like text messaging.

“We do urge people to let us know if they can not use an appointment. Some people will say they are able to attend any time, so we are able to give appointments to other people even with late notice.

“We do understand that people have busy lives but we would say please let us know, because it is such a significant amount of money we lose.

“We are trying everything we can do to reduce the problem.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Primary Care Trust added: “We would encourage people to keep to their hospital appointment times.

“Attending appointments as planned ensures a more effective service for both hospitals and patients.”

What should happen to patients who miss appointments? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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