More than 30,000 outpatient appointments were missed at Milton Keynes University Hospital

‘If patients are unable to attend we would ask them to let us know so their appointment can be filled’
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Tens of thousands of outpatient appointments were missed at Milton Keynes University Hospital last year, new figures show.

It comes as the number of missed appointments across England topped eight million for the first time in 2022-23.

The Patients Association said it would like to see "the health service be more curious and compassionate" about patients' absence.

Figures show patients did not attend 31,070 outpatient appointments at Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in 2022-23Figures show patients did not attend 31,070 outpatient appointments at Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in 2022-23
Figures show patients did not attend 31,070 outpatient appointments at Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in 2022-23

NHS England figures show patients failed to turn up for 31,070 outpatient appointments at Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in 2022-23 – up from 29,440 the year before.

It accounted for 5% of the 678,905 total appointments scheduled.

Nationally, a record 8 million of 124.5 million appointments (6.4%) were missed. It is the highest proportion of missed appointments since 2017-18, when 6.7% went unattended.

The Patients Association said there are 8 million different stories behind the missed appointments, and called on healthcare professionals to be "curious" about why patients are absent.

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, said many patients who miss appointments are at risk of health inequalities.

She said the NHS should focus on making it easier for patients to get to an appointment, with many unable to attend due to caring responsibilities, travel difficulties, or not receiving an appointment reminder.

The figure also showed hospitals cancelled 12.1 million outpatient appointments across the country – a rise of 4% on the year before, and the highest figure since records began, excluding 2020-21, which was affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Of these, 75,900 were cancelled by Milton Keynes University Hospital.

There were 95.9 million attendances nationally, up on the last two years but slightly below pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile, patients contacted hospitals and cancelled 7.9 million appointments, also down on before Covid-19.

At Milton Keynes University Hospital, 27,885 appointments were cancelled by patients, while there was a total of 519,710 attendances.

An NHS spokesperson said the service is treating record numbers of patients and dealing with ongoing industrial action.

They added: "Our main message is it’s vital people seek care when they need it.

"But if patients are unable to attend we would ask them to let us know so their appointment can be filled.”