How would you feel if someone didn’t show up in your life? Every year in Gloucestershire, thousands of people do not turn up to their medical appointments when these vital slots could be filled by another patient in need.
There were 187,000 missed appointments in our GP surgeries and hospitals last year which is 30,000 hours of NHS time.
The NHS works hard to ensure any appointments which become free are given to someone else but, if none of them were filled, it would cost the NHS in Gloucestershire £13m a year.
The ‘No Show’ campaign launched today encourages people to remember to call to cancel when they cannot make it.
Helping to support the campaign is Dr Mark Porter MBE whose Culverhay Surgery in Wotton-under-Edge has about 6,000 registered patients.
“We all lead busy lives which don’t always go to plan. As a result, dates in the diary often have to be rearranged but all we ask is that if you need to change or cancel an appointment that you call your GP surgery or the hospital outpatient service,” he said.
“Here at Culverhay, like GP practices everywhere, our appointment slots are in demand and by simply not turning up, you are making it harder for someone else in need to be seen.”
More than 60,000 hospital appointments were missed last year in Gloucestershire along with 125,000 GP surgery appointments.
Dr Sean Elyan, Medical Director and Consultant Oncologist at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “When people fail to turn up, it is a lost opportunity for another patient to be seen in a more timely way.
“If we could reduce the number of missed appointments, we would be able to treat many more patients a year.
“Through improvements to our switchboard and booking office, we have made it easier for patients to get in touch and change or cancel their appointments.”
To cancel a hospital appointment, patients should call the telephone number on their appointment letter which should get them straight through to the department they need. Alternatively, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org
GP surgeries have been working together to help more patients get access to an appointment when they need one. This year, around 40,000 extra GP appointments are being made available across Gloucestershire including 750 more at evenings and weekends every week.
Dr Andy Seymour, Clinical Chair at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “There is a high demand for appointments and we can all play our own part to ease pressures on our health services by remembering to cancel the appointments we cannot make to ensure people are seen as quickly as possible.”
You can follow the campaign using the #NoShow on twitter.