Missed GP appointments cost NHS England £216 million annually
According to NHS England, over 15 million general practice appointments (including GP, nurse and other practice staff sessions) are missed each year in England through patients failing to attend or inform the practice, representing 5% of all appointments. About 7.2 million of these appointments are with GPs, equating to more than 1.2 million GP hours wasted. NHS England adds that, as each GP appointment costs an average of £30, the total cost to the NHS of these missed appointments is £216 million annually, enough to pay the salary of 2325 full-time GPs or 8424 community nurses.
The recently published NHS Long Term Plan includes a commitment to increase funding for primary, community and mental health care at a faster rate than the NHS budget as a whole, in order to fund a £4.5 million new service model across England that provides more joined-up healthcare. In addition, evening and weekend access to GP services has been available across the country since December, increasing the number of available appointments by nine million annually. NHS England stresses that patients now need to “do their bit” by letting the NHS know if they cannot attend an appointment.