NHS waiting lists are too long. Thousands of patients are waiting months – sometimes more than a year – for non-urgent treatment.

The health service doesn’t have enough money to please all of the people all of the time. And it certainly isn’t helped by patients too lazy to attend.

The average cost of a hospital appointment is £120, according to NHS England figures.

Incredibly, missed appointments cost the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Airedale NHS Foundation Trust more than £1.8m between January and June.

Throughout England no-shows cost the NHS more than £1bn last year.

That’s enough money to fund a million cataract operations or 25,000 hip replacements.

Of course, some of those appointments will have been missed for completely understandable reasons.

But there are other “patients” who simply can’t be bothered to pick up a telephone and cancel an appointment.

The NHS is already under unprecedented strain and in the next couple of months it will face what could be its biggest challenge: dealing with the inevitable 2018 winter beds crisis when resources are stretched to breaking point and many hospitals are already operating in crisis mode.

In those circumstances, we simply cannot afford to waste appointments.

Patients and the public must use the service responsibly to ensure that care is available for those most in need.

Sticking to a hospital appointment is a small but very important way to help.