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Over a £1m lost due to missed GP appointments in Guildford and Waverley

2 minute read
Over a £1m lost due to missed GP appointments in Guildford and Waverley

Published at 8:26am 11th February 2020.

NHS data shows patients failed to show up for tens of thousands of GP appointments in Guildford and Waverley in 2019.

A missed appointment costs around £30, according to NHS England, meaning the NHS Guildford and Waverley CCG could have lost out on around £1.3 million through patient no-shows last year.

The Royal College of GPs says it is “frustrating” for doctors but warned that non-attendance could be for reasons such as underlying mental health issues.

doctor

Last year an estimated 42,069 appointments were missed without enough notice to invite other patients in the Guildford and Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group area – an average of 115 per day.

This cost, on top of the disruption for staff and other patients, would pay for the average annual salary of 22 full-time GPs or 1,262 drug treatment courses for Alzheimer’s.

Professor Martin Marshall, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said missed appointments are very frustrating:

"Especially when GPs could be seeing other patients – but, for some patients, there may be more complex reasons for non-attendance and it could indicate something more serious, such as underlying mental health issues.

“Charging for appointments – missed or otherwise – would fundamentally change one of the founding principles of the NHS, that access is free at the point of need.

"It is also unlikely that the benefits of such an approach would outweigh the costs of implementing it.

“GP practices are working hard to ensure that patients are aware of their appointments by sending reminders by text and email or encouraging them to make appointments through the surgery app.

"However, it would be helpful if practices had more time and resource to follow up patients they might have particular concerns about."