17,000 patients miss over five medical appointments a year in Scotland

The Scottish Conservatives revealed data from a freedom of information (FOI) request that showed in addition to the 17,000 who missed five or more appointments, a further 14,000 failed to show up four times.

Furthermore, 100,000 patients missed two appointments, and 400,000 missed one. It is estimated that each ‘did not attend’ costs the NHS around £120.

In response to the data, Ruth Davidson, Scottish Conservative leader, has suggested that the country’s NHS should find more innovative ways to ensure people turn up for appointments.

She said: “Missing a hospital appointment can happen to anyone, and for a range of reasons. But when you’re getting to the point where you are missing five or more in the space of just a year, something really has to be done.

“That is costing the NHS thousands of pounds, wreaking havoc with hospital planning, and of course potentially harming the health of the patient involved. We’ve been critical of the NHS in the past for cancelling appointments and procedures, so it’s only fair we do everything we can to make sure patient no-shows are limited too.”

Shona Robison, Scotland’s Health Secretary, said that the percentage of patients missing appointments has slightly decreased over the last five year, but agreed more needed to be done.

She said: “The Scottish Government is committed to supporting health boards to deliver secure messaging services, including reminders.

“Health Scotland also recently published a report looking at those who did not attend appointments over a 10 year period from 2002-3 to 2011-12. We welcome this report which will provide boards with further learning on the issue of non-attendance.”

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