Leading GPs in Norfolk have pleaded with their patients to honour their appointments after new data showed that one in 20 no-show for their slots.

In October alone, more than 30,000 people failed to attend appointments made in GP surgeries in Norfolk and Waveney.

It has prompted doctors to plead with patients to honour the appointments they make - or go through appropriate channels to cancel them so that others do not miss out.

And it comes at a time with practices facing mounting demand for care, meaning some patients are struggling to make appointments to begin with. 

Sadie Parker, associate director of primary care at NHS Norfolk and Waveney, said: "We know how important it is for people to receive prompt care from their GP practice in a way that suits their needs.

"Helping people receive the right care and support when they need it and listening and responding to people's needs and preferences, is something practices do every day.

"The overall increase in appointment activity we are seeing is thanks to practices providing mixed models of care through different appointment types."

Latest data released by NHS Digital has shown that in October, 689,573 appointments were made across the county.

However, 31,376 of these appointments were missed without explanation - a figure making up close to 5pc of all appointments.

A spokesman for NHS Norfolk and Waveney said: "These are huge numbers of missed appointments that could have gone to others who have not been able to get through and we urge everyone to notify the practice if they are unable to attend, as these appointments can be moved to others who are waiting.

"The latest appointment data shows the growing demand for health services, as the October appointment data represents the equivalent of more than half of the entire population of Norfolk and Waveney receiving a healthcare appointment in the month."

During his leadership campaign, prime minister Rishi Sunak called for the introduction of a £10 fine for anybody that misses a GP appointment without informing their practice.

However, since becoming PM, Mr Sunak has scrapped the pledge.