More than 15 million general practice appointments are being wasted each year because patients do not turn up and fail to warn surgeries that they will not be attending.
An approximation of 307 million appointments scheduled with GPs, nurses, therapists and other practice staff every year and five per cent are missed without enough notice to invite other patients – which means around 15.4 million slots are missed.
Each appointment costs the NHS an average of £30, which puts the total cost at more than £210 million on top of the disruption for staff and fellow patients that would pay for:
- 224,640 cataract operations
- The annual salary of 2,235 full-time GPs
- 216,000 drug treatment courses for Alzheimer’s
- The annual salary of 8,424 full-time community nurses
Dr Nikki Kanani, acting director of Primary Care for NHS England, said: “We know that timely access to general practice appointments are a priority for the public which is why we are growing the workforce and offering evening and weekend appointments.
“The NHS long term plan will set out how we will build on this progress but patients can do their part by letting the NHS know if they can’t make their slot – freeing up doctors, nurses and other professionals to see those who do need care and attention.
“This is particularly important as we go in to winter. Our message is clear: if you cannot make it to your appointment or no longer need a consultation, please let your GP practice know in advance so the appointment can be filled by another patient.”
The new evening and weekend access to GP services are being offered in addition to other services such as out of hours GPs and NHS 111 that offer access to clinicians at any time day or night.