More than 25,000 outpatient appointments were missed at Southern Health NHS Trust last year, new data shows.

NHS England has revealed that patients didn’t attend 25,345 outpatient appointments at Southern Health in 2022, up from 19,145 the previous year.

The number of missed appointments accounted for 10 per cent of the total appointments arranged – 253,140 – last year.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Southern Health told the Echo: “In 2022/23 we offered an additional 50,000 face to face appointments to our patients which is reflected in the increase in missed appointments.

“We understand that life happens and occasionally appointments can’t be kept.

“However, if this is the case, we would urge all patients to let us know if they can’t keep an appointment.

“Missed outpatient appointments cost the NHS around £1b a year, so it is really important that you let someone know if you can’t make an appointment so that we can allocate it to someone else and re-book yours for a more convenient time.”

They added: “This is especially important during these times of unprecedented demand and pressure.”

Daily Echo:

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The NHS England figures show the number of missed appointments is the highest it’s been for five years – with eight million appointments missed nationally.

Southampton Itchen MP, Royston Smith said: “Missed appointments affect everyone.

“The hospitals can’t plan; other patients are missing out and the taxpayer loses millions.

“This has been an ongoing problem and one the government need to prioritise.”

He added: “Imagine what a difference all those missed appointments would make if patients attended them?

“It’s such a waste but we also have to investigate how many appointments didn’t arrive to patients.”

Following the findings, the Patients Association, an independent healthcare charity, called for the health service to be “more curious and compassionate” about patients’ absence.

The Patients Association said there were “eight million different stories” across the country behind the missed appointments.

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, said many patients who miss appointments are at risk of health inequalities, and urged the NHS to be compassionate.