Surgery urges patients to keep appointments after 'disgraceful' no shows

Orchard Court Surgery in Dereham. PHOTO: IAN BURT

Orchard Court Surgery in Dereham. PHOTO: IAN BURT - Credit: IAN BURT

A GP surgery has pleaded with patients to keep their appointments or cancel after a string of 'no shows'. 

The Orchard Surgery in Dereham said that on the morning of Thursday, May 20 alone it had eight patients not attend nurse and GP appointments, equivalent to two hours of clinic time. 

Surgery manager Claire Warman said: “Our GP practice, like others locally and nationally, continues to be very busy and our staff have been working incredibly hard to ensure we provide the right treatment in ways that are safe and effective.

“Like other GP practices, we offer appointments over an extended range of days of the week and times of day to help patients book appointments which are most convenient for them. We are also using digital technology to help our patients book and cancel their appointments more flexibility."

She added: “There are many genuine reasons why you may not be able to attend your appointment, however by letting us know as soon as possible, you give us the opportunity to reschedule it for someone else.”

Alison Webb, executive member of housing, health and environment at Breckland Council. Picture: Keit

Alison Webb, executive member of housing, health and environment at Breckland Council. Picture: Keith Mindham - Credit: Photo: Keith Mindham Photography


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Breckland District Council’s executive member for health, Alison Webb, said: “I urge all of our community to ensure that if they make an appointment at the surgery, to keep it or cancel it.”

She added: “Failure to turn up means that other residents who may need an urgent appointment will be delayed and who knows - we ourselves might be in that position some time in the future."

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A 91-year-old patient at the surgery, who asked not to be named, said the people who weren’t bothering to attend or cancel their appointments were “disgraceful” - particularly given the high demand for slots.

The patient recently tried to book a same-day appointment, and said they were placed number 22 in a telephone queue.

“I put the phone down, because who wants to be on there for more than 20 appointments?” said the patient. 

Phillip Duigan

Local county councillor Phillip Duigan said he feared the NHS would one day have to fine people for not attending or cancelling their appointments. - Credit: Noah Vickers

Local county councillor Phillip Duigan joined in the surgery’s plea to residents and said he feared the NHS would one day be forced to fine patients for not turning up.

“I wouldn’t like to see that sanction involved, but to be honest, it might have to happen one day if people don’t [keep to their appointments],” said Mr Duigan.

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