max temp: 15°C

min temp: 11°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.


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.



  • 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


    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

Sharon Halls and Daniel Compton's baby, Evie

An Ipswich couple have launched a desperate online appeal to raise at least £184,000 for the care of a premature baby born 12 weeks early in the Dominican Republic.

Emergency services at the scene of the accident at Barton Mills.

The motorcyclist, 20, who died following a crash on the A1101 at Barton Mills yesterday is an airman from RAF Lakenheath.

Accident near Hintlesham causes delays.

There are delays on the A1071 near Hintlesham following an accident involving a car and motorbike this morning.

Light aircraft crashes in Essex, killing two people.

Two people have died after a light aircraft crashed in a field in Essex.

Are you a budding young writer?

Are you a wizard with words? Does your imagination race at 100 miles an hour and keep you awake at night?

Felixstowe's Martello Tower P, in Langer Road, open as part of Felixstowe's Heritage weekend.

A project to restore a defensive fort dating back to the Napoleonic era has received a £50,000 boost from a heritage funding cash pot.

Anne Humphrys and Bec Jasper have set up PACT support group for parents and families of children with disabilities.

Huge increases in the number of children in Suffolk suffering from mental health problems were today laid bare - amid major concerns about the quality of services youngsters receive.

B&Q in Anglia Retail Park will close by 2017.

Home improvement giant B&Q is set to close one of its biggest Suffolk stores - at Anglia Retail Park on the edge of Ipswich, it can be revealed.

The Nestle Purina site in Sudbury

A Sudbury pet food factory is under increasing pressure to tackle foul odours as it is revealed an environmental regulator recorded 40 stench complaints since last month.

Web fire

A kitchen fire was extinguished in Walder Grave Way, Manningtree, this afternoon.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages