MISSED appointments have cost health trusts in the county more than £1.7 million, new figures have revealed.

Data from NHS England shows that, between January and June, thousands of people either did not show up for an appointment or arrived too late to be seen at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust (SH).

The news will cause concerns for chiefs at the trust at a time when the NHS is struggling to cope with an increasing demand on resources.

The figures show that in total 13,460 missed appointments cost HHFT around £1.62m and 868 missed sessions cost SH £104,000.

Bosses at HHFT and SH said they had "concerns" about the impact of missed appointments on how they operate.

Malcolm Ace, HHFT chief financial officer, said: "Any waste in our hospitals means we can spend less on the care of our patients.

"As a trust we already communicate with our patients, highlighting the impact of missed appointments through appointment letters and materials displayed in our hospitals.

"Over the last 18 months, we have introduced SMS text appointment reminders to boost attendance and allow patients a further opportunity to let us know if they can no longer attend their appointment and we are already beginning to see positive results of this.

"If we learn early enough that a patient cannot make the appointment, we can offer it to another patient."

Paula Anderson, SH finance director, said: “Missed appointments are always a cause for concern and can be indicative of an emerging issue for someone, perhaps they are experiencing a crisis or need support in order to attend a clinic or hospital, and we do work to provide additional help where people may need it.

“We appreciate that sometimes it is unavoidable for patients to miss planned appointments, however it is true that missed appointments do have a cost for us, as they do all parts of the NHS. If someone needs to miss an appointment and can let us know it enables others to be seen more quickly and avoid potentially unnecessary waste of public money.”

Across England almost 2.9 million appointments were missed in the six months at the start of the year, costing the NHS around £350 million.

On average an outpatient appointment costs the NHS £120, according to the latest resources cost data.