Warning to patients as NHS counts cost of missed appointments

More than 15 million GP appointments are wasted in England each year because patients do not turn up and fail to warn surgeries that they will not be attending
More than 15 million GP appointments are wasted in England each year because patients do not turn up and fail to warn surgeries that they will not be attending
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One of the region’s top doctors is urging people to help the NHS save money and cancel their GP appointment if they can’t make it.

The medical director for Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and South Cumbria, Dr Kieran Murphy, says more than 15 million GP appointments are wasted in England each year because patients do not turn up and fail to warn surgeries that they will not be attending.

This adds up to more than 1.2 million GP hours wasted each year – the equivalent of more than 600 GPs working full time for a year.

Each appointment costs an average of £30, putting the total cost to the NHS at more than £216 million pounds on top of the disruption for staff and fellow patients that would pay for:

• The annual salary of 2,325 full time GPs;

• 224, 640 cataract operations;

• 58,320 hip replacement operations;

• 216,000 drug treatment courses for Alzheimer’s;

The annual salary of 8, 424 full time community nurses.

NHS England is ramping up access to GPs and other health professionals by recruiting thousands of new practice staff and appointments are now available in the evening and at weekdays right across the country.

However, patients can do their bit by making a New Year’s resolution to let the NHS know if they cannot attend an appointment.

Dr Murphy said: “Ensuring there are appointments for those who need to see a doctor is our priority, if you have booked an appointment at your doctors and you no longer need it please remember to call your doctors and cancel the appointment, help us to help other this winter.”