Thousands of appointments missed in one month
More than 3,000 GP practice appointments were missed in one month across the Lincolnshire West CCG area, new data has revealed.
Patients have again been urged to tell their GP practice if they can no longer make an appointment.
It comes after new figures show that 3,450 appointments were missed during December last year. This includes 3,311 missed face to face appointments.
Now, GPs and health bosses are reminding patients of the impact of missed appointments.
Dr Sunil Hindocha, Chief Clinical Officer at NHS Lincolnshire West Clinical Commissioning Group, said not only do missed appointments stop other patients making use of them, but they have a financial impact too.
“It is vital that patients tell their practice if they can no longer make their appointment,” he said.
“For every missed appointment, there is a patient who is unable to see a GP or other clinician. That wasted time could be better used seeing a patient who needs our help.
“Missed appointments also cost the NHS a lot of money. We all have a responsibility to make the best use of NHS resources and this includes appointments at the GP practice.
“If you have an appointment coming up that you no longer need, please let your practice know.
“Somebody else can then use that time with a clinician.”
In December 2018, a total of 79,052 appointments were made in Lincoln, Gainsborough and surrounding areas.
Ian Green, Practice Manager at Branston & Heighington Family Practice, said introducing text message reminders to patients has helped to a degree, but missed appointments are still frustrating.
He said: “We average around 40 appointments a month which are not attended by patients booked in.
“It is frustrating when patients ring in the morning and then do not attend their appointment later that day.
“The vast majority are appointments with the nurse which are usually for chronic disease management.
“With the patient not attending, they are putting themselves at serious risk of their condition worsening.
“Please remember your GP practice is under a great deal of pressure and any missed appointment is a wasted appointment.
“Missed appointments only add to the pressure, which may affect its future ability to provide a service.”
Dr Radi Sultan, GP Partner at Ingham Practice, said it was important everyone did their bit to look after the NHS.
He said: “It is unfortunate that there are so many missed appointments.
“Time is one of the most valuable assets not only to me as a GP, but to my practice, to the NHS and to our patients.
“We all know that the NHS is under a lot of pressure.
“It is important that we work collectively to make sure we maintain and sustain the service and that it is utilised appropriately.
“This includes, perhaps most importantly, time management and use of appointments.
“The important thing is for patients to take responsibility for the NHS and take care of it.”