In July 2016 more than 4,700 GP, nurse and healthcare assistant appointments were missed across Wiltshire’s 58 GP Practices, an equivalent of around 156 days of general practitioner time.
Known as ‘Did Not Attend’ appointments they have a huge impact on the health economy, prevent other patients from being seen and waste the time of ever-stretched doctors and nurses.
Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is urging patients to take a few minutes to cancel their appointments if they are no longer required, or if they are unable to attend. Practices will then be able to offer those slots to other patients who require them and help to reduce appointment waiting times.
Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire CCG said: “For every missed appointment it is a missed opportunity for practices to see another patient. Simply by cancelling unwanted appointments, even if it is a few minutes before, it means that other patients have an opportunity to be seen more quickly and perhaps see their own GP. We were aware that most practices experience several DNAs each day but 4,700 missed appointments in the course of one month is, quite frankly, shocking.”
On average a GP will conduct 30 appointments per day and based on the total number of missed appointments for July 2016, this is the equivalent of 156 days of general practitioner time that has been lost.
Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, a GP at Market Lavington Surgery explains on behalf of Wiltshire Practices: “As doctors, we understand that people lead busy lives, that plans often change and quite often many people feel better by the time of their pre-booked appointment, so needing to change or cancel it is not a problem – please just let your surgery know.
“At a time when NHS resources are stretched to the hilt, it’s really important that people understand the impact they have if they simply do not turn up. Everyone has responsibility to look after the NHS – it’s tax payers money after all – and we urge Wiltshire people to cancel when they don’t need the appointment so that those most in need are able to be seen more quickly”.