GPs warn over missed appointments

Patients who need to see their GP are being deprived of appointments by an increasing number of people who fail to turn up at their surgery, the EDP can reveal.

Patients who need to see their GP are being deprived of appointments by an increasing number of people who fail to turn up at their surgery, the EDP can reveal.

Practices in Norfolk are reporting worrying numbers of patients making appointments to see a clinician and not turning up, with one surgery averaging 160 non-attenders each month, the equivalent of more than 26 hours of wasted time.

And while dentists can charge patients for failing to show, doctors have few powers to resolve the situation other than writing letters to habitual offenders.

Susan Payne, of Norfolk's Local Medical Committee, said: “People would not dare to do that to their hairdresser but they feel they can do it to their doctor.

“It is a growing problem.”

Nationally surveys have shown around 10m GP appointments and around five million practice nurse appointments are being missed each year resulting in millions of pounds worth of wasted time and resources.

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Richard Hall, practice manager of Dereham's Orchard Surgery said their average figure for non-attendance had risen to 160 a month.

“This has huge implications for patients trying to get appointments with their doctor of choice,” he said.