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70 years of the NHS: ‘Use the health service responsibly’ warns chief nurse

England’s chief nurse Jane Cummings calls on patients to cancel NHS appointments in good time if unable to attend to free up the health service for those who need it.
Jane Cummings

Englands chief nurse Jane Cummings calls on patients to cancel NHS appointments in good time if unable to attend to free up the health service for those who need it

  • Warning comes as NHS enters its 70th year
  • Almost 8 million hospital appointments missed in 2016-17
  • Around 1 billion worth of appointments missed in same period

Englands chief nurse urges patients to cancel their NHS appointments in ample time if they are unable to attend to help free up the health service for those in need.

Under pressure as never before

Jane Cummings is also urging people think about whether they need to go to hospital or to a GP or if they could get advice or guidance through the NHS non-emergency helpline 111 or a pharmacist instead.

Speaking as the

England’s chief nurse Jane Cummings calls on patients to cancel NHS appointments in good time if unable to attend to free up the health service for those who need it

  • Warning comes as NHS enters its 70th year
  • Almost 8 million hospital appointments missed in 2016-17
  • Around £1 billion worth of appointments missed in same period

Jane Cummings
Picture: PA

England’s chief nurse urges patients to cancel their NHS appointments in ample time if they are unable to attend to help free up the health service for those in need.

‘Under pressure as never before’

Jane Cummings is also urging people think about whether they need to go to hospital or to a GP or if they could get advice or guidance through the NHS non-emergency helpline 111 or a pharmacist instead.

Speaking as the service heads into its 70th year, Ms Cummings said: ‘With the NHS coming under pressure as never before, we are asking patients and the public to use the health service responsibly to help ensure that care is readily available for everyone who needs it.

‘There are now more doctors, nurses and other clinicians available at the end of a phone to give advice and guidance to users of the 111 service. Sticking to your appointment is a small but effective way to wish the NHS happy birthday in its 70th year.’

NHS Digital figures

Ms Cummings’ call comes as almost eight million hospital appointments were missed in 2016-17, according to figures released by NHS Digital.

This did does not include appointments which were cancelled in advance by either the hospital or the patient.

NHS England also said that with each hospital outpatient appointment costing the NHS approximately £120 in 2016-17, that means almost £1 billion worth of appointments were missed, equivalent to 257,000 hip replacements or 990,000 cataract operations.

It also said that more than nine million people were sent home from emergency departments in 2016-17 with just guidance and advice, which was potentially available from a pharmacist or by calling 111.


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