EXCLUSIVE: Trust in £13m debt lost out on potential £5m cash windfall due to patient no-shows
by John Dickens • Published 9 Aug 2012 16:30 7 Comments
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Patient 'did not attends' at Wexham Park Hospital could have raked in £3m income
A FINANCIALLY-CRIPPLED hospital trust missed out on a staggering potential £5m cash windfall due to patient no-shows in the last year.
The alarming figures, obtained by a Freedom of Information request, exposed that one in 10 patients no-showed for their appointment - totalling 37,538 - across the Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's six hospitals, between June 2011 and June this year.
This means the trust missed out on potential government payments totalling £5m.
A whopping 23,031 'did not attends' were recorded at Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, last year - adding up to a missed income of £3m.
The trust, which recorded a £13m debt last year and is paying back an £18m government funding package, said it is taking steps to reduce the number of patient no-shows.
Deirdre Thompson, chief operating officer, said: "We send text reminders wherever possible, and we are also looking at targeted phone calls, to contact groups who are more likely to miss appointments, such as young men.
"We are also reviewing services, and all processes related to outpatient appointments and booking will be examined in detailed and efficiency improved to help improve patient experience and reduce do not attend rates further.
"We will then create a capacity and demand model for all our clinics to ensure we have a enough space to see patients in a timely and coherent manner."
The Trust misses out on a potential £199 when an outpatient misses their first appointment and £107 when a patient does not attend a follow-up appointment.
Wexham Park accounted for the majority of the lost income - £3m - while Heatherwood Hospital, in Ascot, missed out on £854,000 with 6,389 no-shows.
King Edward VII Hospital, in St Leonard's Road, Windsor, missed out on £726,000 with St Mark's Hospital, in St Mark's Road, Maidenhead, losing a potential £293,000.
Carol Brooker, a member of the region's Health Advisory Group (HAG), said: "The trust needs to review the system on a regular basis, seek peoples' experiences and learn from them. It is not going to be successful as a business unless they crack this - it is important for their finances."
Trust officials stressed although a patient might miss an appointment, it does not mean the patient would not attend an appointment at a later date, which it would then receive payment for.
Mrs Thompson added: "We would urge anyone unable to, or who feel they no longer need to, attend an appointment to contact the hospital as early as possible so the appointment can be allocated to another patient."
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Aug 9, 18:13
Have people missed appointments ?
I was too ill to attend and so my husband rang to cancel, he was told another appointment would be sent to me.
I later found out that because i failed to attend i have been discharged as an outpatient.
The outpatient department I have just been discharged from sees you very quickly but a previous department would keep you waiting for ( on one occasion) over an hour. if you have taken time off work can you afford it?
Another reason is the appointments can be sent 6 months in advance. the article states that they send text reminders and are considering phone calls, these cost money so surely it would be cheaper to sent the appointment with a 3 weeks -1 months notice.
so back to my question - are these patients really no shows or could it be that its a mistake by admin staff?
Recommend? Yes 1 No 10
Aug 9, 18:58
Aug 10, 15:04
So, over 37,000 people failed to show up for an appointment, costing the Hospital Trust about £5 Million in lost revenue - not to mention the thousands of people who could have been treated in the gaps these inconsiderate people left in the outpatient lists. That's a fact. JUDGE1066, however, dismisses the fact and thrown out near insults in response. Of course the bosses took their 6 figure salaries - and they were worth every penny because they manage a hospital employing over 4,000 people with a cost base of over £200 Million a year. And on top of that they have to manage around inconsiderate fools who ask for a hospital appointment (which costs you and I £200 even if they don't turn up) - and they really don't turn up! 37,000 of them last year alone! I think they should be sent the bill for the £200 they have wasted.
Recommend? Yes 8 No 8
Aug 11, 11:59
I take it you're related or in fact a 6 figure salaried person, nothing like a vested interest, if it wasn't for fat cats and self serving parasites this country wouldn't be on it's knees....Fact !!!!!
Recommend? Yes 8 No 4
Aug 13, 12:10
surely we as patients have a responsibility to turn up for our appointments or cancel them. Too easy to blame every one else.
I telephone the hospital or use their website to cancel appoinments and have had not problems at all.
If we want to keep our hospital we need to work together as one to save it...these sorts of comments are not helping!!!!!!!!
Recommend? Yes 5 No 0
Aug 14, 09:38
i agree, if a patient does not cancel their appointment and fails to attend they should be charged for non attendance - but would you have charged me? i DID cancel my appointment but was still noted as a "failed to attend" and discharged from outpatients - i only found out by accident that they had discharged. I have been very ill for almost 7 months and so had not realized i had not received a new appointment.
So would the admin staff who where actually the ones who failed to cancel the appointment be charged the cost of the missed appointment in this case?
the problem is people in the public sector can make as many mistakes as they like because there are no consequences to them .( i work, on contract, for a public sector organisation which is constantly making mistakes and the attitude is "oh well" )
As my post says i DID cancel my appointment but was discharged as a " no show" so it does not matter whether or not you cancel.
As i have said, if this has happened to me once, how many of those 37,000 people has it happened to - i have never missed any previous appointments and by looking at my records they would have seen this is totally out of character so i was surprised to be discharged from the clinic without question!
Recommend? Yes 0 No 1
Aug 16, 15:25
I am sorry but I and many others would take humbridge that you say staff at the hospital have an attitude of "oh well" when they make mistakes. I feel that is an unfair statement.
You are not helping to save the hospital, are you one of Philip Lee's crew who do not live in the local area and want a hospital on junction 8 or 9 of the M4.
Recommend? Yes 1 No 0