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Nearly 300,000 missed outpatient appointments at hospitals cost the Welsh NHS more than £36 million in 2016/17.
With each missed appointment costing an average between £66 and £160, doctors are saying it is an ‘infuriating’ trend for medics and other patients. Cardiff and Vale health board recorded the highest number and percentage of missed appointments in 2016-17, with 11 per cent of its total appointments being missed.
Adopting similar tactics to other NHS organisations, the health board has started a pilot project so patients get a text, repeating the date and time and telling them the cost to the NHS if they do not show up.
In 2015, the Welsh Conservatives mooted a £10 fine for patients who frequently missed appointments but the Welsh Government said it would be too complicated and GP bodies dismissed the idea.