WARRINGTON and Halton hospitals lost more than £4million during the coronavirus pandemic due to patients failing to turn up to appointments, it is estimated.

NHS Digital data for Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust shows that in the 11 months from April last year, there were 27,680 outpatient appointments which people did not show up for.

It means that out of 345,875 booked sessions, eight per cent were unattended.

With the average outpatient appointment costing £160 – as estimated by several NHS trusts – the no-shows may have cost Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust around £4.4million.

Across England's health providers, five million appointments were missed during the same period to the end of February – around seven per cent of those booked – wasting the NHS an estimated £760million.

Dr Rob Harwood, consultants committee chairman at the British Medical Association, said it was ‘concerning’ to see the rate of failed appointments given the current backlog in care.

“We urge people not to just simply fail to attend, as this wastes an appointment time that could have been used for someone else – someone who might potentially need it more urgently,” he said.

Warrington Hospital

Warrington Hospital

“It also places the most pressure on consultants trying to deliver a service under extraordinary demand and in already difficult circumstances.”

At Warrington and Halton hospitals, the rate of missed appointments was at its highest in December when 9 per cent were no-shows, totalling 3,010.

This is mirrored across England, with the highest rates of people failing to show for appointments demonstrated in December and January – coinciding with the second wave of the pandemic.

A spokesman from NHS England said measures were in place in hospitals to ensure patients remained safe.

They added: "People should continue to attend their medical appointments as normal.

“If you are unable to attend for any reason, please let us know so your appointment can be filled by another patient who may need it.”

Of the missed appointments at Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 7,435 were first appointments and 20,245 were follow-ups.