It’ s been especially busy in our GP surgeries recently, with a high number of people feeling unwell following the cold snap of weather. This period of intense weather has made it particularly tough for those with long term conditions meaning that the demand has been higher to see a doctor.
Our GP practices try to offer appointments that patients can make, particularly those that are working during the day. In fact, we’ve now got appointments 7 days a week and you can see a medical professional on an evening too.
Unfortunately sometimes people book appointments and don’t turn up which is incredibly frustrating and a waste of resources and time. We know that life can get busy and people there are often valid reasons why people can’t make their appointment. They could be feeling better, have transport problems, sudden work commitments or just not feeling well enough to come in.
Some practices have implemented some successful schemes, like sending out text message reminders to patients which is great to see. It’s never been more important to keep your appointments, as often this has a knock on effect for other people who are unable to get an appointment presenting inappropriately somewhere else like A & E.
Some practices have implemented some successful schemes, like sending out text message reminders to patients which is great to see and is easier for patients to cancel appointments no longer needed/unable to attend. Since these schemes have been put into practice, lots more appointments have been cancelled, which then allows other patients to book them, reducing the length of time some people wait for their appointment.
You might not know, but GP practices are paid on average about £136 per person per year and people tend to visit their GP about 6 times a year so an average appointment is about £22.60. In our area alone last year between January and December an average of 4.2% of people didn’t turn up to their booked appointment at their GP practice. This works out as 10,884 appointments missed per month. These could have been appointments with a GP, practice nurse, nurse practitioner, healthcare assistant, phlebotomist or other clinicians in the practice. Think what that money could pay for.
If you know you are the sort of person that might forget, set yourself a reminder on your phone or on your calendar at home. If you no longer need your appointment, then I urge you to cancel it. We all play our part in making sure the NHS is fit for the future.