Missed GP appointments in Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby have already cost NHS hundreds of thousands this year

Missed GP appointments in Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby have already set the NHS back hundreds of thousands of pounds this year, figures reveal.
Missed GP appointments in Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby have already set the NHS back hundreds of thousands of pounds this year, figures reveal.

Missed GP appointments in Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby have already set the NHS back hundreds of thousands of pounds this year, figures reveal.

Patients failed to attend 8,895 face-to-face consultations with doctors and nurses between January and April 2019, NHS Digital data shows.

The average cost for an appointment in England is £30, meaning no-shows in Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby cost the NHS an estimated £266,850 over the four months - £2,224 a day.

The total so far this year is already enough to pay the annual salary of 12 full-time nurses.

And with sessions usually lasting around 10 minutes, unattended appointments meant GPs and other practice staff wasted 1,483 hours of consulting time, the equivalent of nine weeks.

The Royal College of GPs said missed sessions are “a frustrating waste of resources” for GPs, and for other patients struggling to secure time with their doctors.

As of April this year, a total of 229,529 face-to-face consultations have been booked with GPs and other practice staff in the Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group.

Of those, one in 26 was missed, without the patient calling in to cancel or reschedule.

Cancelled appointments are not included in the figures, as the surgery can offer those slots to other patients.

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: “We would urge patients to let us know if they can’t attend as soon as possible, so we can offer that time to someone who really needs it.

“Many patients are waiting far too long for a GP appointment, and we can all do our bit to help.”

Almost 4.5 million patients have failed to attend appointments in England this year, racking up estimated costs of more than £130m.

The British Medical Association said it was vital that appointments were not wasted at a time of intense pressure on the NHS, while NHS England has urged patients to do their part to cut down on missed appointments.