Check up for no-shows

PATIENTS who fail to turn up for hospital appointments should be telephoned that day and asked why, health chiefs have said.

NHS Lothian chairman Dr Charles Winstanley suggested "ringing patients on the day of the appointment" to find out why they didn't turn up.

People who fail to show for appointments are a huge problem in the Lothians, with 124,000 missing scheduled meetings last year.

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It costs the health board 17 million a year and is a source of major annoyance for consultants and doctors who are already pushed for time on busy hospital rotas.

Various options for punishing patients have been discussed, such as moving them to the back of the queue if appointments are missed.