More than 39,000 GP appointments were missed in September, new data for the Black Country has revealed.
The latest figures for GP access shows that in September more than 630,000 appointments were delivered in the Black Country, however nearly 40,000 appointments were recorded as “did not attend” – commonly referred to as DNAs. This is where a patient fails to attend an appointment and does not cancel so it can’t be rebooked by the practice.
To understand the reasons why people might not cancel appointments that are no longer needed, the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB) is encouraging patients to share their views and take part in a survey.
The survey asks about their previous experiences with cancelling GP appointments and what measures they think should be put in place to help with this. It also includes questions such as why they might have missed a GP appointment, for example for issues with travel, work commitments or having caring responsibilities.
Sarb Basi, Director of Primary Care for the NHS Black Country ICB, said: “We know that missing appointments is not something people do intentionally. However, at a time when demand on NHS services is at an all-time high, it is very important that GP appointment slots are not going to waste.
“It might not seem like a big deal to miss a 10-minute appointment, but the unintended consequences are that other patients who may really need care can’t access it when they need to and are being kept waiting longer. That’s why it’s important that we understand the reasons why patients might have missed their appointment, to provide us with an opportunity to take action to address them.
“The survey is designed to give patients the opportunity to feed back about their experiences of cancelling a GP appointment, the reasons why their appointment was no longer needed and what measures they think could help reduce missed appointments. It’s completely anonymous and the best way to share your views, even if you haven’t visited your GP practice recently.
“I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind people to please make every effort to cancel any GP appointments that are no longer needed, so somebody else can have the slot.”