An equivalent of 516 days of general practitioner time for Wiltshire patients was lost during July, August & September because people failed to attend more than 15,500 booked GP, nurse and healthcare assistant appointments across the county’s fifty-five GP Practices.
Known as ‘Did Not Attend’ appointments – or DNAs – 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: “Every missed appointment is a missed opportunity for practices to see another patient. We were aware that most practices experience several DNAs each day, but the volumes we are seeing are quite frankly, shocking.”
On average a GP will conduct 30 appointments per day and based on the total number of missed appointments for July, August and September, the equivalent of 516 days of general practitioner time 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 remember to 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”.