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Readers panel: Are irresponsible patients to blame for the high number of missed NHS appointments? 

Figures from NHS Digital show that almost eight million hospital appointments were missed in 2016-17 at a cost of around £1 billion to the NHS. England’s chief nurse Jane Cummings has called on patients to ‘use the health service responsibly’ and cancel appointments in ample time if they can’t attend. Nursing Standard readers have their say

Figures from NHS Digital show that almost eight million hospital appointments were missed in 2016-17 at a cost of around £1 billion to the NHS. England’s chief nurse Jane Cummings has called on patients to ‘use the health service responsibly’ and cancel appointments in ample time if they can’t attend. Nursing Standard readers have their say

Liz Charalambous is a staff nurse and PhD student in Nottingham @lizcharalambou

While the public has a right to healthcare, it also has a responsibility to use services wisely. In an era of increasingly scarce resources it is imperative that NHS appointments are attended, but this hints at ‘victim blaming’. Appointments can be missed for various reasons, such as lack of access to transport or money or disenfranchised populations with chaotic lifestyles or mental health problems. We need evidence showing why people do

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