By Local Democracy Reporter
ALMOST ten per cent of consultant appointments were missed in Thurrock, the highest rate in Essex, costing the NHS more than £1 million.
Hospital appointment “no shows” have cost the NHS nearly £9 million this year alone in Essex.
Between January and June, 73,757 people either completely failed to turn up for a consultant outpatient appointment – having given no prior warning – or turned up too late to be seen.
Each outpatient appointment costs the NHS an estimated £120. That means the total value of missed appointments commissioned by clinical commissioning groups in Essex stands at around £8.85 million for the first six months of 2018.
In Thurrock, there were 9,584 missed appointments between January and June – meaning 9.5 per cent of all patients there with an outpatient appointment were “no shows”, the highest rate in the county.
Patients from Basildon and Brentwood missed 14,044 appointments (8.7 per cent), while patients from Southend missed 8,654 (8.6 per cent).
Those in West Essex missed 12,089 (7.3 per cent), North East Essex 10,669 (7.1 per cent), Mid Essex 11,523 (6.9 per cent) and Castle Point and Rochford 7,194 (6.9 per cent).
Across England as a whole, 2.9 million people were “no shows” at consultant outpatient appointments in January to June this year.
That has cost the NHS an estimated £346 million.
A Thurrock CCG spokesperson said: “This trust introduced a text message reminder service for outpatients appointments in September 2017, which has significantly reduced the number of ‘did not attends’.
“From April 1 2016 to August 31 2017, the average rate of missed appointments across all specialties in the trust, with no notice given by the patient, was just over 12 per cent.
“From November 2017 to June 2018, the same average rate has been between eight to nine-9 per cent for seven months, and 9.08 per cent for one month.
“The trust works with our GPs and clinical commissioning group colleagues to emphasise the importance of patients attending their appointments. This is done through promotion of electronic bookings and reminders.”