Almost one in four young men skipped doctor and hospital appointments on Mondays, a Glasgow University study found.

Psychologists found the NHS could save £60million a year if it targeted medical appointments to patients' profiles.

It suggested hospital outpatient and GP appointments could be arranged later in the week for young people and earlier in the week for older patients.

The study revealed about 12% of all out- patient appointments at UK hospitals are missed, costing the health service about £600m a year.

The trend, for attendance to dip at the start of the week and steadily rise until Friday, was blamed on people's "emotional associations" with certain weekdays.

Dr Rob Jenkins, senior lecturer in psychology at the university, said: "Mondays have the most negative response, Fridays the most positive. And emotional tone brightens steadily over the intervening days."

The team analysed the attendance records for 4,538,294 out-patient hospital appointments across Scotland between January 1, 2008 and 2010, and also examined the attendance records for 10,895 appointments at a single GP clinic in Glasgow.

They found young men are worst for missing appointments, with almost one in four of 20 to 29-year-olds missing hospital out-patient appointments on Mondays, reducing to 22% by Friday.

Nearly 21% of 30 to 39-year-olds missed out-patient appointments on Mondays, gradually reducing to 18.6% by Friday.

Older people miss fewer appointments at the start of the week than younger people.

Dr Jenkins said: "If you could cut non-attendance by just a tenth, from 12% to 10.8%, you could save the NHS £60m a year.

"It would also improve patients' health and reduce the risk of illness."