Patients missed tens of thousands of appointments at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust last year, figures reveal.
Medical professionals say that people who miss – or are late for – appointments are depriving someone else of help at a time of stretched resources.
NHS Digital data shows there were that 1.8 million care contact appointments with a recorded attendance in the 12 months to April. Care contacts can be done in person or by telephone, and cover a range of services including district nursing, occupational therapy, and health visiting. They are provided by hospitals, health centres and other bodies such as councils.
But patients at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust failed to attend 63,080 of these, or arrived too late to be seen. It means around one in 33 appointments at the trust were missed in the period.
Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said that not showing up for an appointment could lead to someone needing more serious help later, which might have been avoided otherwise.
He said: “These are services put on to help keep the population as healthy and as functional as they can. At a time when finance and resources are so tightly stretched, anyone who does not attend an appointment, for whatever reason, has generally deprived someone else of the available time.”
Patients cancelled a further 75,880 appointments, although in these cases they told the trust in advance.
An NHS England spokesperson said: “The NHS is treating record numbers of patients but could be treating even more if people arrived on time, or if appointments were not missed, which is why hospitals ask patients to let them know if they can’t make their appointment so they can be filled by someone else.”