New study tackles patient ‘no-shows’ that costs the NHS £650k a month

Missed hospital appointments may be reduced if clinics encourage patients to rebook their own appointments when clinics need to reschedule, says new study co-authored by Professor Houyuan Jiang of Cambridge Judge Business School.

doctor and patient

“Compared with appointments rescheduled only by clinics, those rescheduled by patients following clinic-rescheduling were associated with reduced no-show risk,” says the study.

“Based on these findings,” the authors say, we “suggest that the clinics actively contact patients when their appointments are rescheduled by the clinics and invite patients to reschedule the affected appointments again. We also recommend limiting the number of times a patient could reschedule an appointment to minimise the disruption in the appointment system.” 

A major backlog in health care provision created by the COVID-19 pandemic has placed even greater stress on hospitals, making no-shows even more expensive for health systems and taxpayers. A recent report from the National Health Service in the UK found that out of the 122 million appointments booked in 2021-2022, around 6.4% or 7.8 million appointments were missed – costing the NHS about £650,000 a month.

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Image: Sturti, Getty Images via Canva 

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