5000 in three months miss appointments, reports Nicola Brennan-Tupara.
The number of no-shows for medical appointments at Waikato Hospital may be declining - but no-shows have still cost taxpayers $754,800 in three months.
Health Waikato statistics released this month show outpatients missed 4938 appointments in the first three months of this financial year - just over 9 per cent of their bookings.
And it is your money being wasted, because it cost the hospital $754,800 in clinic and medical time so far this financial year.
In the past two years no-shows at Waikato Hospital have cost about $6.4 million, with each no-show costing about $150.
Table-toppers in the "did not attend" column were Meremere residents, who managed to miss 18 of 67 appointments, a rate of 26.87 per cent.
The area has been a regular at the higher end of the no-show list, topping the list in the 2010-2011 year as well.
Breakdown of Hamilton Domicile TLA DNA(Did Not Attend) rates by Domicile Code
Click on the markers to see the DNA rate for different areas. Red markers represent highest percentage, followed by the yellow ones and then green for the lowest DNA rate.
Huntly West was next worst, with 97 appointments missed at a rate of 23.32 per cent, and Te Aku (14.08 per cent) and Ngaruawahia (13.45 per cent) residents also failed to show up.
Though some might expect areas far from the hospital to be high due to transport issues, even those right in Hamilton have poor attendance at a rate of 10.08 per cent.
Burbush was the worst with 27.27 per cent not attending, followed by Porritt (16.73 per cent). Even suburbs right next to the hospital, like Melville (14.3 per cent), and Bader (12.95), are failing to show up.
At the other extreme was Peacock, just south of the city, where none of the 41 patients missed their appointments.
Jo-Anne Deane, assistant general manager for ambulatory care at Waikato District Health Board, said there were a variety of reasons people did not turn up.
Often they were too sick to travel that day, others forgot - and if the sun was shining they simply did not want to go to the hospital, she said.
In July the hospital began a text reminder trial for some outpatients and so far it was having a positive result, Ms Deane said.
They also send out reminder letters four weeks before the appointment and again one week before.
But often there was no rhyme or reason for no-shows.
"There's been that belief that socio-economic factors may be a drive due to a lack of transport, lack of a car, lack of education and family support, but it doesn't work that way."
She said middle- to high-income people were just as bad as low-income people for not showing up.
"As a DHB we do as much as we can," Ms Deane said. "Some services even ring people as well. But even that doesn't help sometimes."
Waikato DHB spokeswoman Mary Anne Gill said the main issue was finding the best way to communicate with patients.
Breakdown of Waikato Domicile TLA DNA rates by Domicile Code
Breakdown of DNA Rates for Waikato DHB, Bay of Plenty DHB and Lakes DHB
Maps by Harkanwal Singh
- © Fairfax NZ News
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