A CAMPAIGN has been launched to reduce the 40,000 missed appointments with GPs and hospitals in the county.

The ‘keep it, cancel it, don’t waste it’ project aims to raise awareness of the importance of people attending – and what happens when they fail to turn up.

The 40,000 missed appointments are said to cost health services a total of £2.5million each year.

Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Wye Valley NHS Trust are trying to get this fact across with the campaign that will use posters and flyers in healthcare waiting rooms across the county.

Andy Watts, HCCG chairman, said: “We understand that patients often genuinely forget their appointments, don’t realise the importance of attending, or are anxious about the appointment.

“However, we have to take action to reduce the numbers failing to attend appointments to ensure people are accessing health care when they need it.

“Failing to attend an appointment may mean that a diagnosis or treatment is delayed unnecessarily, which in some cases can have serious health implications, particularly for patients referred urgently to their local hospital.

“Members of the public can help by letting us know if they cannot make their appointment, so it can be offered to another patient to help reduce waiting times.”