A NEW campaign targeting people who don’t cancel their GP appointments has started across mid and south Essex.
More than 12,000 slots are wasted every month across the patch due to people failing to show up to their surgeries after booking out time with a GP.
GP leaders say the missed appointments are contributing to increased waiting times in practice and could be contributing to more people with minor illnesses going to local A&E departments for treatment.
In mid Essex, 240 people failed to attend appointments at their GP practices in just one day.
Dr Caroline Dollery, local GP and Chair of NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “As GPs we work hard to meet the needs of our patients and make it as easy as possible for them to see their doctor. But we need patients to do their bit too by letting us know if they need to cancel or rearrange their appointment.
“The knock on effect of someone missing their appointment is that some patients who cannot see their GP choose to go to A&E instead and this puts pressure on the hospital. Patients should make sure they attend an appointment if they book one or cancel it well in advance if they no longer need it, so it can be made available to someone else.”
NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups across mid and south Essex are working together to raise awareness of the impacts of missed appointments and to help educate local people about tools such as online GP services that help to make cancelling GP appointments easy.
The communications campaign, which is due to launch later this month will include lots of methods to get messages out to the public including bus adverts, a social media campaign and signs on refuse trucks to help raise awareness of how many appointments are being thrown away.