Missed GP appointments: Bassetlaw patients waste thousands of doctor appointments during pandemic – costing NHS more than £555,000

Hundreds of thousands of GP appointments were wasted during the Covid pandemic in Bassetlaw because patients failed to attend them, new data has revealed.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 10:36 am

Analysis of official NHS figures show 17,868 appointments were not attended by patients across the district from April 2020 to February 2021.

Across England, 9.6 million were missed – almost one in every 25 appointments offered.

The estimated cost to the NHS of a GP appointment is on average £30.

(Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

That means appointments wasted by patients in Basselaw cost the health service an estimated £536,040 during the pandemic, according to new analysis by the JPIMedia Data Unit.

In total the missed appointments in England are estimated to have cost the NHS £288 million.

In Bassetlaw, no-shows represented three per cent of all GP slots – with an average of 53 appointments going to waste each day.

Health chiefs are urging patients to notify their GP practice if they need to cancel an appointment so it can be used for someone else.

The missed appointments include face-to-face appointments with family GPs and other practice staff, as well as home visits, telephone calls and video conferencing appointments.

NHS Bury CCG had the highest percentage of missed appointments with 9 per cent of all appointments missed.

NHS South East London CCG had the greatest number of appointments missed, with over 346,000 slots.

Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said it can be “frustrating” when patients don’t attend their GP appointments as the slot could be used for another patient.

“GPs and our teams have been working hard throughout the pandemic to ensure GP services are available, as well as playing a leading role in delivering the Covid vaccination programme,” he said.

“We would urge patients who no longer need their appointment to contact the surgery, at the earliest possible opportunity, so that valuable GP time can be used for the benefit of other patients.”

He added that while many cases are down to human error, missing an appointment could be a warning sign that something is wrong with a patient, requiring follow-up action from health workers.

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