AS the NHS faces its worst winter crisis ever, Royal Bournemouth Hospital has revealed that last year, 13,000 of us missed our appointments - costing the hospital £1.3 million.

A hospital spokesman said: "All patients attending an outpatient appointment with a doctor or their team are reminded of their appointment a week before – either with an automated call or an actual call handler. Yet we still have this ‘wastage’."

The hospital costs each appointment out at around £100 and says that 5.6 per cent of its appointments are wasted this way.

"In context, if we saw ten 10 patients per clinic that would be 1,300 clinics – in main outpatients we do 415 so it’s over two weeks’ worth of clinics wasted," said the spokesman.

He pointed out that this has the double effect of longer waiting times and additional cost to: "Put on extra clinics to manage the waiting times which we wouldn’t need to do if we didn’t waste this level."

And the problem doesn't end there as a further number of appointments are wasted because patients cancel too late for the slot to be reallocated.

RBCH's statement comes after Poole Hospital revealed that wasted appointments cost it more than £1.5 million a year.

It says more than 300 of us simply fail to turn up to our outpatients appointments every week. At around £100 per missed appointment – the money is saved if the slot can be reallocated – that adds up to £1,560,000 a year.

Poole Hospital medical director, Dr Angus Wood, said: “Missing an appointment without cancelling or rearranging it costs the hospital both time and money, and prevents us from offering the slot to another patient.

“Remembering to cancel an appointment in advance helps us maintain our high standard of service and means we can see as many patients as possible.”

The NHS’s Chief Nursing officer, Prof Jane Cummings, has said that annually, the NHS lost nearly £1billion due to wasted appointments – enough money to fund one million more cataract operations or 250,000 hip replacements.