Rain

Rain

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 15°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Poll: Thousands of patients fail to turn up for GP appointments

17:43 05 February 2013

Rates of whopping cough soar in region

Rates of whopping cough soar in region

MORE than 50,000 doctor appointments are being missed in north east Essex, it has emerged.

shares

NHS bosses described it as totally unacceptable and have urged patients to be more responsible.

Head of Primary Care for the NHS in north east Essex Jennifer Speller said: “This is a shockingly high figure. Surgeries receive a lot of stick from patients who can’t get an appointment when they want one, but what these patients may not realise is that it is their fellow patients not cancelling appointments who are causing much of the problem.

“We need patients to be responsible. No-one thinks twice about phoning up their hairdresser if they can’t make an appointment but it would appear that some don’t think it is necessary to cancel their GP appointment if they are unable to make it.

“Even if patients find out at short notice they cannot make an appointment, it is still important they let their surgery know as that appointment could then be offered to somebody else who really needs it.”

According to NHS North Essex - the transitional organisation overseeing the change from the primary care trust to the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group - the total number of missed GP and nurse appointments for 2012 was 55,000.

Ms Speller added: “In the past, people have said they didn’t cancel their appointment because they couldn’t get through to the surgery as the phone lines were always busy.

“However, a number of our 44 GP surgeries across north east Essex now have a 24-hour telephone facility so patients can leave a message cancelling their appointment and some surgeries also offer an online cancellation facility. I would urge people to think of their fellow patients and make every effort to cancel their appointment if they are unable to attend.”

Martin Durrant, practice manager at Vicarge Lane Surgery in Walton-on-the-Naze, said they have worked hard to reduce the number of unattended appointments fromr around 200 a month three years ago to 90 a month now.

“It’s a very good reduction but 90 are still too many and it remains an issue we need to continue tackling,” he said. “We have introduced sending a text reminder of appointments, though only 27% of our 10,500 patients have a mobile phone.”

He said the surgery had also introduced a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy whereby anyone who misses three appointments without notification is removed from their register. So far, two patients have been removed for being serial non-attendees.

“I believe the messages is getting across that this is something we take very seriously because it deprives patients who really need to see a doctor the opportunity to do so,” he added.

shares

2 comments

  • It is certainly a large number of missed appointments, but to put it into context we need to know over what period this number of appointments have been missed, or relate it to the actual number of appointments made.

    Report this comment

    Rolf

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • I find it hard to believe that "only 27% of their 10,500 patients have a mobile phone". I suspect that patients are not being asked for a mobile number when making an appointment. The majority of pensioners I know have them but maybe not know their mobile number off the top of their head.

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

The scene of the accident on the A133 at Weeley between a push bike and a van.

A cyclist has died in hospital following a collision with a van on the A133 at Weeley.

Ladbrokes

Four men have been arrested following an armed robbery in Felixstowe on Friday night.

A woman is in hospital with serious injuries following a five vehicle crash on the A140 last night.

Ipswich Town V Brighton.

It may not have been the outcome the home crowd were hoping for, but the 21,000 fans at Portman Road this afternoon were left thoroughly entertained as Ipswich Town lost 3-2 to Brighton.

Police are investigating after rope was tied across a road

‘Lives are being put at risk’ – that’s the warning from Essex Police after motorists had to manoeuvre around a rope which was tied across a road.

Writer and historian Dr Mark Felton

A historian and author from Colchester whose book has been picked up by Hollywood has released a new thriller based on another daring Second World War mission.

Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House in Ipswich.

The number of high earners at Suffolk County Council has risen for the first time in four years, according to new figures.

Toby Freeman from Robin Cancer Trust, Ben Payne from Reflective Ice Limited and Angie Diggens from St Helena Hospice are teaming up to have a charity night at the Winter Wonderland and Ice Rink in Colchester Castle Park.

An ice rink planned for central Colchester this winter will be taken over by local charities for a night.

Knives handed in during an amnesty at Clacton Police Station

A survey by a weapons awareness charity has found one-quarter of youngsters in Clacton have been threatened with a knife.

The Energy from Waste Site in Great Blakenham.

Nearly a year after it first started to turn Suffolk’s waste into something useful – electricity – the Great Blakenham incinerator is helping to keep rubbish out of the county’s holes in the ground.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages