'No show' patients costing £1million

PATIENTS who fail to turn up for their appointments are costing cash-strapped Ipswich Hospital almost £1m a year, new figures reveal today.Almost 600 patients a month are failing to turn up for outpatient appointments, costing the hospital around £79,000 a month - the equivalent of £948,000 a year.

PATIENTS who fail to turn up for their appointments are costing cash-strapped Ipswich Hospital almost £1m a year, new figures reveal today.

Almost 600 patients a month are failing to turn up for outpatient appointments, costing the hospital around £79,000 a month - the equivalent of £948,000 a year.

Karen Lough, Ipswich Hospital's outpatients' services manager, said: “We have, on average, between 550 and 600 patients a month who fail to attend appointments.

“It can be for a variety of reasons, from problems with transport to people just forgetting, but the message we want to get out is that we need people to help us.

“If people don't turn up, the hospital doesn't get paid for the activity it would have done.”

The news comes on the day that a national study revealed that, across the country, one in ten hospital appointments are missed, adding up to around 4.5m a year.

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The figures reveal that men aged 15 to 44 were most likely to miss appointments.

Mrs Lough said: “One of the biggest problems we have is that people's details are not up to date and we can not get hold of them.

“This is increasingly becoming a problem because of mobile phones and the fact that people change them so often.

“We are continually trying new ways of solving the problem like ringing people with a reminder two days before their appointment, but that takes resources and it can be hard to get hold of people.”

The hospital, which is currently battling to recover a £16.7m debt, has also tried sending text message reminders to people using the sexual health and gynaecology services.

They hope to roll this out to other departments in the future.

Mrs Lough said: “The main message is that if anyone has forgotten when they are meant to be coming in, or thinks that we may not have their up to date details they should give us a call to let us know.”

If you have a query about an appointment or want to update your details call the patient appointments team on 0845 8400200.

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