Thousands snub hospital appointments five times in a year

Nearly 17,000 patients failed to show up for a hospital appointment on five or more occasions last year, new figures have shown.

Research by the Scottish Conservatives has revealed 16,803 people were DNAs (did not attends) five or more times in 2014/15.

In addition to them, nearly 14,000 people failed to show four times, while around 33,300 didn’t appear on a hattrick of occasions.

Nearly 100,000 missed appointments twice, while those missing just one totalled 400,000.

People missing appointments causes huge headaches for the NHS, and the health service has said previously each DNA costs around £120.

NHS Tayside had the highest number of patients who failed to show on five or more occasions last year (7096), followed by NHS Lanarkshire (2670) and NHS Greater Glasgow in Clyde (2431).

The statistics were obtained by the Scottish Conservatives through Freedom of Information.

The party has previously suggested those who failed to show for appointments on a certain number of occasions could face some sanction from the health board.

The Scottish Government has also been urged to look at more innovative ways of reminding patients to turn up at appointments.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson 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.

“We need to find ways to ensure people turn up at the appointments that are made and stop showing contempt for our NHS, doctors and nursing staff.”

Ends
Notes to editors:
Below is a table showing patients who have cancelled appointments in 2014/15, by health board, and number of occasions.
Health board
One
Two
Three
Four
Five +
Ayrshire and Arran
16,368
4073
1018
452
247
Borders
1814
290
71
17
9
Dumfries and Galloway
8011
2407
766
342
309
Fife
21,061
5905
1946
712
610
Forth Valley
16,107
4473
1316
468
331
Grampian
15,182
3443
1055
371
270
Gtr Glasgow and Clyde
94,852
24,848
7778
2896
2431
Highland
13,443
4108
1362
576
470
Lanarkshire
50,034
15,575
5873
2583
2670
Lothian
124,119
16,758
4648
1886
2211
Orkney
888
270
82
53
25
Shetland
1642
302
88
28
23
Tayside
37,494
14,936
6766
3514
7096
Western Isles
1830
517
185
65
74
Scotland
402,845
97,905
32,954
13,963
16,803
To see the full FoI responses, contact the Scottish Conservative press office.
It has been estimated each DNA costs the NHS around £120:
http://www.scotsman.com/news/health/how-much-do-missed-hospital-appointments-cost-scotland-1-3908046