According to the Department of Health, every time someone fails to turn up for a hospital appointment it costs the health service about £108.

Newly published hospital statistics show that about 147,500 patients did not keep their appointments last year.

Those patients also failed to alert staff in advance that they would not attend, meaning resources were wasted.

Considering £1m could employ 35 full-time nurses, or allow 150 people to have their hip operation, health service commissioners would argue that the public should be more responsible.