The cost of missing medical appointments costs around £1 million more per year than first feared, health bosses have today revealed.
The Gazette reported last week how £4 million was being wasted by patients failing to turn up to appointments at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
And now, the Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which represents 22 GP practices and commissions health services in the town. said an average of 213 appointments were missed at surgeries across the Fylde coast last month alone, which cost taxpayers £88,000.
Dr Amanda Doyle (pictured), a local GP and chief clinical officer at the CCG, described the cost as ‘staggering’.
She said: “It is understandable that some people cannot make their GP appointment for some reason.
“That could be that their condition has worsened and they have gone to hospital or that they have simply treated themselves at home.
“Whatever the reason the GP practice needs to know so that it can pass the appointment to someone else that may have been waiting for some time or may be seriously ill.”
The figures, compiled and released following The Gazette’s front page story, estimated almost 59,000 appointments are missed every year in Blackpool, which equates to around 34 days of time or around £1m.
The CCG‘s survey found one practice, Elizabeth Street Surgery had 348 patients fail to attend appointments last month alone.
Out of the 10 surgeries that gave figures, Glenroyd Medical Centre, which has practices in Blackpool and Bispham, had the fewest missed appointments at 148.
Dr Doyle added: “Many practices have employed the use of technology to send to reduce the number of missed appointments. People can also use the internet to cancel or reschedule.”