Missed GP appointments cost the NHS around £288 million during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Analysis of official NHS data for England reveals that more than 9.6 million appointments were not attended by patients from April 2020 to February 2021. That is one in every 25 appointments offered.
These missed appointments include face-to-face appointments with GPs and other practice staff, as well as home visits, telephone calls and video conferencing appointments. Missed appointments waste NHS resources and can cause serious delays in treatment for other patients.
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 by another patient.
He added that while many missed appointments are down to human error, a patient not attending an appointment could be a warning sign that something is wrong. This may require follow-up action from other health workers.
Simple initiatives, such as sending email and text reminders, are now being used by many clinics and are already beginning to see results. A recent study suggested that making patients aware of the cost of missed appointments are far more likely to not miss them.
Envisage waiting room TV provides a range of ways to help make patients more aware of the cost of missed GP appointments.
We have videos in our media library that help to make patients aware of the cost of missing appointments, and provide guidance to contact you as soon as possible if they are unable to attend their appointment.
You can also use the Envisage templating system to share your missed appointment figures with patients. Our editable Missed Appointments template allows you to share the number of missed appointments at your practice per day, week or month.