Millions of GP appointments missed each yearNo-shows are wasting time and NHS money

25 August 2006

 

Over 11 million doctor's appointments are missed in the UK each year, wasting GP's time and NHS money.

A further 5 million practice nurse appointments are wasted according to the survey by the health education charity, Developing Patient Partnerships (DPP).

Over 232 million GP appointments are made each year at the 10,000 practices across the UK.  But a growing percentage of appointments are being missed at great cost to GP surgeries and other patients.

The majority of the 329 practices polled said patient no-shows cause them problems in wasted time and have the knock-on effect of longer waits for other patients who want to be seen.

Even appointments booked on the same day don't solve the problem, with around half of practices saying the initiative makes no impact on the number of missed appointments.

Waste of money

DPP spokesman and GP Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: 'People are still missing appointments even when they make them for the same day. Appointments cost the NHS money. Missed appointments are a waste of valuable resources.'

Commenting on the survey Nurse Practitioner Anne Baird said: 'Missed appointments mean that everyone has to wait longer to be seen. For nurses, missed appointments can waste considerable time and resources. For example, sometimes an entire family may book in for their holiday jabs and then fail to turn up leaving the nurse with several wasted appointments.'

GPs believe patients miss appointments because they forget or feel better so decide not to attend.

But Danny Daniels, Chair of the National Association for Patient Participation says the number of missed appointments can depend on the location of the surgery and the surgery's approach to patients who don't turn up.

He called for further research into why patients did not attend (DNA). He said: 'This would clarify what steps practices can take to reduce DNAs and would further highlight the responsibility of patients not to waste valuable appointments.'