Patients who miss their GP appointments are costing NHS England around £216m a year, officials have said.
Around 15 million consultations are being wasted each year because patients fail to attend. This means that more than 1.2 million GP hours are being wasted each year.
NHS England estimate that each appointment costs around £30, and the overall expense of patients not cancelling appointments could pay for 2,325 full-time GPs annually. It could also fund 58,000 hip operations or 220,000 cataract operations.
Missed GP appointments waste NHS resources and can cause serious delays in treatment for other patients.
Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chairman, said: “Every appointment at a GP practice is precious, especially at a time when GP services are struggling to cope with rising patient demand, staff shortages and inadequate budgets.
“Practices will try many ways to address this problem, but ultimately patients do need to play their part.”
Simple initiatives, such as sending email and text appointment reminders, are now being used by many practices. These practices are already seeing great results in reducing their number of missed appointments.
Another way of ensuring patients play their part is to use waiting room TV to spread the message whilst they wait for their appointment. A recent study also suggested that making patients aware of the cost of missed GP appointments makes them far more likely not to miss them.
We have content in our Envisage Media App to help make patients aware of the cost and inconvenience not attending appointments can cause. It reminds them to contact the practice as soon as possible if they are unable to attend their GP appointment for any reason.
Our Envisage system also allows you to display a message showing the number of missed appointments your practice has had each day, week or month. This helps patients understand the impact missed appointments are having on their practice.
To find out more information about how you can make patients aware of the cost of missed GP appointments using the Envisage waiting room TV and patient call system, please call our team on 0114 2433896 or contact us here.