Lincolnshire patients fail to attend over 130,000 GP appointments per year

A new DNA (Did Not Attend) campaign, launched across the south, south west and east of Lincolnshire, has revealed that in excess of 130,000 GP appointments are made and not attended every year.

Dr Moore & Partners, based in High Street, Northampton, is the top-rated surgery in the town according to NHS Choices.

The ‘Forgotten Something’ campaign is running in Lincolnshire East, South Lincolnshire, and South West Lincolnshire CCGs from this month, and will ask patients to cancel any GP appointments they can’t make or don’t need.

Stephen Baird, GP and Chair of Lincolnshire East CCG, said: “It can be easy to forget things, but it’s really vital that we all make an effort to cancel GP appointments we no longer need, or can’t attend.

“The impact of DNAs on our practices is immense. Having taken a sample of practices, we have calculated that 131,544 appointments are ‘DNA’d’, or made and then not taken up, every year across our combined 63 GP practices - which is the equivalent to nearly 22,000 hours of consultation time.”

Of course, there are times when we can make appointments and then find we no longer need them, and the ‘Forgotten Something’ campaign recognises this and provides some useful prompts, and GP practices will be able to display a series of posters promoting the campaign.

Dr Baird added: “We understand that people will book an appointment to see their GP and then find they don’t need the appointment or cannot make it, and it is possible to cancel your appointment either in person, over the phone or, with some practices via their website.

“The problem is the sheer number of appointments made and then not used or cancelled.

“We try and allow around ten minutes per appointment, so every DNA has a cumulative effect on the time we have available for patients who need to come and see us. “To put it another way, forgetting to cancel your appointment prevents someone else from being seen.”

Apart from cancelling unwanted appointments, the biggest thing patients can do to help reduce the level of DNAs is to remind family and friends to cancel their unwanted appointments. The reception team at your GP practice will be able to advise you how best to cancel an unwanted appointment.