Thousands lost in area due to missed GPs appointments

Missed GP appointments in Scarborough and Ryedale cost the NHS thousands of pounds a day, new figures reveal.

Friday, 1st March 2019, 11:55 am
No shows in Scarborough and Ryedale cost £76,000 in one month.

Patients failed to attend 2,533 face-to-face consultations with doctors and nurses in December, NHS Digital data shows.

Across England, the average cost of an appointment is £30, meaning no-shows in Scarborough and Ryedale cost the NHS an estimated £76,000 over the month – equivalent to the annual salary of three full-time nurses.

And with sessions usually lasting around 10 minutes, unattended appointments meant GPs and other practice staff wasted 422 hours of consulting time.

The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) said missed sessions are “a frustrating waste of resources” for GPs, and other patients struggling to secure time with their doctors.

In December, a total of 44,258 face-to-face consultations were booked with GPs and other practice staff in the Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group. Of them, one in 17 was missed without the patient calling in to cancel or reschedule.

According to the RCGP, practices are increasingly using electronic methods, such as text reminders, to encourage patients to keep appointments or cancel them in plenty of time.

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: “We would urge patients to let us know if they can’t attend appointments as soon as possible, so we can offer that time to someone who really needs it.

“Many patients are waiting far too long for a GP appointment, and we can all do our bit to help.”

Story by Isabelle Kirk, data reporter