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Almost £1m a year is wasted by missed GP appointments in Kirklees

Health bosses urge patients to try harder to turn up for their GP

300 people a day in Kirklees don't turn up for their GP appointments(Image: PA)

Almost £1m a year is being wasted by thousands of people who miss or forget their GP appointment in Kirklees.

Health chiefs are urging patients to make more effort not to waste NHS resources.

It is thought about 300 people fail to turn up for their GP appointment every day in Kirklees – a stunning total of about 72,000 per year.

Each appointment is worth about £13, meaning roughly £936,000 is wasted every year.

Figures from NHS England suggest that more than 12 million GP appointments are missed each year in the UK, at a cost to the NHS of over £160 million per year.

Bosses of the 64 Kirklees GP practices are now urging people to cancel appointments if they know they can’t make it.

They are also reminding patients that the NHS offers an appointment reminding text message service for people with mobile phones.

NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS North Kirklees CCG said if more people made the effort to cancel appointments they would be able to offer those vacant slots to other patients and reduce appointment waiting times for everyone.

(Image: PA)

Dr Steve Ollerton, local GP and Clinical Leader, NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG said: “Patients often tell us that they struggle to get an appointment with their GP, so having such a high number of missed appointments in Kirklees has a big impact on patients and practices.

“The fact that so many patients forget that they have an appointment, or don’t turn up because they can’t make it or no longer need it, means that other people can’t be seen.

“Reducing the number of missed GP appointments in Kirklees will mean that more people can get the help they need from their GP quickly.”

His North Kirklees counterpart, Dr David Kelly, urged people to use the online booking systems.

He said: “We’re all so busy these days that forgetting to turn up for a GP appointment, or cancel it, is easily done.

“Booking appointments online helps to reduce the number of missed appointments because it’s really easy to cancel or re-book an appointment online at a time to suit you.

Some patients who can't get a GP appointment go to A&E instead (file picture)

“You don’t need to wait until the practice opens or wait in a call queue, you can go online and cancel the appointment there and then.”

When people fail to turn up for appointments there is a big impact on the care GPs are able to give others – it’s also a waste of a GPs’ valuable time and money.

The knock on effect of missed GP appointment is that some patients who cannot get an appointment choose to go to A&E instead.

Ask your GP practice about the best ways to cancel unwanted appointments and make sure they have your up-to-date contact details.

Make sure you make a note of your appointment either in a diary, calendar or on your smart phone and ideally set yourself a reminder.

Ask your GP practice if they have a text message reminder service.

Some practices also offer a service which allows you to cancel an appointment by text.

All GP practices in Kirklees have online services to make it easier to book and cancel appointments, some of which allow you to order repeat prescriptions and view your health records.

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